New York Islanders (WC) vs. Florida Panthers (A1)
Series Price: Florida -150/New York +130
Game 1 Price: Florida -140 O/U 5
Series Recommendation: Florida
The Florida Panthers were an afterthought heading into the season but have been one of the biggest surprise stories in the NHL as they captured the Atlantic Division title and home ice advantage the first two rounds. Florida has a nice mixture of veterans and future stars: Jaromir Jagr turned back the clock to have a phenomenal season with a team-leading 66 points in 79 games and Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Reilly Smith and Nick Bjugstad are some of the team’s very impressive young talent. The Panthers will miss the services of Vincent Trocheck who suffered a season ending ankle injury last month. The team however showed no drop in performance in his absence as they finished the regular season 7-2.
The New York Islanders are a bit banged up entering the playoffs with question marks everywhere. Top goalie Jaroslav Halak is still out; one of their best defensemen, Travis Hamonic, has a lower body injury and is questionable for the start of this series; and Anders Lee (36 points) will be out indefinitely with a fractured leg. Florida’s Roberto Luongo certainly has an experience edge in net over New York’s Thomas Greiss -- something that I feel helps the Panthers advance to the second round. Price is reasonable enough for a series play on the favorite.
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