The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are well underway! The second round kicks off on Tuesday night, so let’s get right into it!
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Maple Leafs vs. Panthers: Path to victory
The Leafs finally broke the curse. They got the monkey off their backs. Toronto is in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in nearly 20 years!
Now, things have really gone Toronto’s way. The Leafs expected to play the Bruins in this round in what would’ve been one of the most-anticipated series of the playoffs. Instead, they get an easier matchup.
Toronto will need to continue playing its game. However, the Leafs are the better team and have an advantage in nearly every aspect of the game in this series.
Auston Matthews should lead the Leafs to victory as long as Ilya Samsonov doesn’t completely turn into a sieve.
The Panthers are just having fun at this point. They made a late regular-season push to make the playoffs and found themselves in a 3-1 hole against the Bruins. They were even down a goal late in Game 7. But Florida just kept pushing and taking it a game at a time against an aging and injured Bruins team.
Florida will have to outscore the Leafs if the Cats are going to advance. Sergei Bobrovsky and Alex Lyon aren’t the best goalie tandem in the league, but they can do enough to keep the Panthers in games. After that, it’s up to Matthew Tkachuk to keep the Florida engine going in the second round.
Maple Leafs vs. Panthers: Picks, Predictions, & Best Bets
Maple Leafs to win Game 1 and the series (+115 via FanDuel)
The Panthers had to go to overtime to beat the Bruins in Game 7 on Sunday night, while the Maple Leafs have that day of extra rest and home-ice advantage.
Toronto is -180 to win the series and -170 to win Game 1. Both things should happen, so let’s combine them for a +115 payout!
Maple Leafs to win in 6 games (+450 via BetPARX)
The Leafs beat the Bolts in six games, and I could see them doing the same thing against the Panthers. On the other hand, Florida should be able to win a game or two, so +450 is a nice price here.
Over 5.5 games (-180 via BetPARX)
This was a very successful bet in the first round, and I’m riding it again in the second.