ECF: Florida Panthers vs Carolina Hurricanes Conference Final Preview

Panthers in Second Conference Final, ‘Canes Fifth in Franchise History

Our Florida Panthers vs Carolina Hurricanes preview with a look at the series’ NHL playoff odds. As expected with home ice advantage, the Hurricanes open the series as a -130 favorite. Both Florida (+916) and Carolina (+389) make up two of the top money makers for bettors in the postseason. The Seattle Kraken is second with 449 units won.

The 2022-23 NHL standings looked very different for both clubs. Carolina won the Metro Division with 113 points while Florida sneaked into the postseason by 1-point over the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. Let’s go in-depth with both teams followed by our prediction for the series.

No One Is Chanting ‘We Want The Panthers’ Anymore

We know the Toronto Maple Leaf fans were trying to be cute before the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers game seven, by standing in front of Scotia Bank Arena chanting ‘We want the Panthers’. Their wishes were granted after the Panthers disposed of the President Trophy winners, 4-3.

The attitude among the fans was one that oozed confidence that the Panthers were the easy path. That was until the Panthers flicked the Leafs out of the postseason in five games to bring us to the newest mountain, the Carolina Hurricanes. The reality is, this series will come down to goaltending.

The Panthers Sergei Bobrovsky is 7-2-0 in the postseason with a .918 save percentage to go with a 2.82 goals against. Bobrovsky’s quality save percentage is .778. Overall, Florida is third in the playoffs with a .915 save percentage.

The Hurricane’s Frederick Anderson (5-0, .931 save percentage, 1.80 GAA) has split time with Antti Raanta(3-2, .906, 2.59). Anderson owns a terrific .833 quality save percentage, while Raanta has a less-than-stellar .400 QS%. A slight nod to Carolina.

We continue our Panthers vs Hurricanes Conference Final preview by looking at another major advantage for Carolina.

Depth, Special Teams Will Almost Always Win out

You don’t have to dig deep into the NHL playoff bag of handicapping tricks before you get to compare a team’s depth versus another; knowing how many of the world’s best players a team may have – yes, that’s a shot at the Edmonton Oilers! In this postseason the Hurricanes average 3.64 goals per game, only the Dallas Stars (3.75) are better among the remaining playoff teams.

In the regular season, you could argue that it was the Panthers that had the depth advantage with a third line that features 31-goal scorer Sam Reinhart and a fourth line with Eric Staal who chipped in 29 points this season.

Carolina featured three 20-goal scorers this season with Sebastian Aho’s 36, and Martin Necas’ 28. Andrei Svechnikov had 23 but hasn’t played since suffering an injury in a 4-0 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights back in March.

That had to be a concern for Head Coach Rod Brind’Amour. Then the postseason started and Brind’Amour was fortunate to find contributions from his bottom six (19 points last 10 games) in addition to another 25 points from his blue liners.

Paul Maurice’s team is averaging 3.33 goals per game (8th) while receiving just 3 goals from their bottom six forwards not named Reinhart. While many may look at each team’s depth as a wash, special teams are not.

Carolina has killed off 90% of their opponents’ power plays while the Panthers own a 65.8% success rate. Overall, Carolina has a slight overall advantage when it comes to the combination of special teams and depth. Let’s conclude our Panthers vs Hurricanes conference final preview by giving you our final prediction.

No Time to Pat Selves on Back

With the Vegas Golden Knights taking down the Edmonton Oilers in six games, we would like to remind you who nailed that prediction in this very column. Perhaps the experts at various outlets, namely ESPN, will reach out before making a prediction on this series!

We know the Florida Panthers have been a friend to the betting public this postseason with 916 units won (1st overall), but the Hurricanes (+389 units) didn’t have the benefit of jacking up the units won on the back of being a massive dog to the Boston Bruins.

We think the Hurricanes are the best defensive team remaining and will allow very little room on the ice for Florida’s top six, let alone allowing the Panthers’ bottom six to make an impact.

Take the Hurricanes in five. That does it for our Panthers vs Hurricanes preview, we wish you the best heading into the conference final.
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