The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are here! Just 16 teams are left standing in contention for Lord Stanley’s Cup after the long grind of the 82-game regular season. Things will get started on Monday night with four games, including the Boston Bruins hosting the Florida Panthers at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Over the next few days, we’ll preview each series with a look at each team’s path to victory, picks, predictions, and best bets. First, let’s keep it going with the Panthers vs. Bruins series preview!
Florida Panthers vs. Boston Bruins: Series Schedule
Boston Bruins (A1) vs. Florida Panthers (WC2)
Mon., April 17: Panthers at Bruins, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, CBC, TVAS
Wed., April 19: Panthers at Bruins, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, SNE, SNO, SNP, CBC, TVAS
Fri., April 21: Bruins at Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET, TNT, SNE, SNO, SNP, CBC, TVAS
Sun., April 23: Bruins at Panthers, 3:30 p.m. ET, TNT, SN1, TVAS
Wed., April 26: Panthers at Bruins, TBA
Fri., April 28: Bruins at Panthers, TBA
Sun., April 30: Panthers at Bruins, TBA
Florida Panthers vs. Boston Bruins Path to Victory
The Panthers went on a six-game winning streak in games 75 to 80 to get back into the playoffs thanks to a collapse by the Pittsburgh Penguins. Florida will have to maintain that level of play in the playoffs if it hopes to take down one of the best teams in NHL history.
Veteran journeyman Alex Lyon has been a brick wall for the Cats. He won those six straight games from March 29th to April 8th and finished the season on a 6-1-1 stretch with a .943 SV%. He’ll have to keep standing on his head to give the Panthers any hope of advancing.
The Bruins blew past the previous record of 62 wins in a season with a 65-12-5 campaign. They locked up the Presidents’ Trophy in March and have been cruising to the finish line. Despite several players missing games here and there, the B’s depth was on full display as they continued to win in April.
Simply put, Boston will have to continue what it’s been doing for seven months now to get past a Panthers team that is just happy to be in the postseason.
Panthers vs. Bruins: Picks, Predictions, & Best Bets
Bruins to win Game 1 and win the series (-152 via FanDuel)
The B’s are -350 to win the series and well over -200 to win Game 1 at home. They’re 34-4-3 at home this season, while the Panthers are 19-19-3 on the road.
The Panthers winning this series would be one of the biggest upsets in quite some time. However, I don’t see the Bruins falling victim to a first-round upset like the Lightning did to the Blue Jackets in 2019.
Bruins to win in 6 games (+380 via DraftKings)
If you want a plus-odds to play on the Bruins, Boston to win the series 4-2 isn’t a bad look. They’re -145 on the -1.5 games spread, so the oddsmakers are expecting them to win it in six games or fewer. Alternatively, the Bruins to win in 5 games at +300 could be a play as well.
David Pastrnak to score most goals in series (+250 via FanDuel)
David Pastrnak to score 5+ goals in series (+250 via FanDuel)
This feels like a gift. Pastrnak scored 61 goals this season, which is 34 more than the next-most on the Bruins — Patrice Bergeron and Jake DeBrusk each scored 27.
Carter Verhaeghe (42) and Matthew Tkachuk (40) could threaten Pastrnak here, but the Bruins should be scoring quite a few more goals than the Panthers, and Pastrnak will find the back of the net plenty.
Follow Ryan Gilbert on Twitter (@RGilbertSOP)