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Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Florida Panthers beat Carolina Hurricanes 3-2
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52-21-9 (1st in Metropolitan Division)
42-32-8 (4th in Atlantic Division)
Sebastian Aho (12)
Matthew Tkachuk (19)
Sebastian Aho, Seth Jarvis (5)
Matthew Tkachuk (7)
Sebastian Aho, Jordan Martinook, Brent Burns (7)
Matthew Tkachuk (12)
Jaccob Slavin (12)
Matthew Tkachuk (12)
Brett Burns (3.64)
Shots (Per Game)
Brandon Montour (3.87)
The Carolina Hurricanes will stay in Florida to face the Panthers in Game Four of this Eastern Conference series. The Hurricanes are down 3-0 and on the brink of elimination. As good as Carolina was during the regular season, they have not been able to finish games in this series.
Game One of this series was one of the longest games in the history of the NHL. There was a combined 125 shots, and this matchup went to four overtimes. Stefan Noesen tied that game at two early in the third period, and no goals were scored for nearly 95 minutes. That is until Matthew Tkackuk put one in the back of the net as the fourth overtime was coming to a close. Game Two also went to overtime but ended pretty early. The score was tied at one in the second period, and zero goals were scored for over 30 minutes. However, this time the overtime period lasted less than two minutes. Matthew Tkachuk was the hero once more when he scored a power-play goal.
Game Three was also low-scoring. Sam Reinhart scored a power-play goal for Florida in the second period, and that was all the Panthers needed. Both teams’ defensemen have played huge minutes in this series and have been the difference makers.
The Hurricanes have been led by Sebastian Aho, Seth Jarvis, Jordan Martinook, and Brent Burns in this series. Aho has been the spark plug and leads the team with 12 points, Jarvis is playing nearly 20 minutes a game and has five goals and five assists, Martinook is struggling to score but has seven assists, and Burns is averaging over 26 minutes a game on the ice and has seven assists.
The Hurricanes have not announced who will be starting goalie in Game Four. Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta are in the running. Andersen has had a stronger Playoffs and started Game Three, but Raanta has shown he can hold his own in the net.
The Panthers have been led by Matthew Tkachuk, Carter Verhaeghe, Aleksander Barkov, and Sam Bennett in the Postseason. Tkachuk leads the teams in goals (7), assists (12), and points (19). He is also playing nearly 23 minutes a game. Verhaeghe has six goals and eight assists, Barkov has eight assists, and Bennett has seven assists. Florida has seen a balanced scoring attack in the Playoffs, greatly contributing to their success.
Sergei Bobrovsky will likely get the start in the net for the Panthers. Bobrovsky has been an animal in this series and held the Hurricanes without a goal in Game Three. The veteran did not play that well during the regular season but has stepped up in the Playoffs.
Florida has an insane amount of momentum and home-ice advantage, so I have to play it safe and bet on them to win.
The Hurricanes are the underdogs but can win if they score first and draw penalties.
The Hurricanes have gone over 90 minutes without a goal. That is not acceptable, so Carolina must turn the tables today. They need to come out aggressively and overwhelm Sergei Bobrovsky with shots. If they do, they will score the first goal.
The Hurricanes’ power play unit has not been great in the Playoffs and is converting less than 20% of its opportunities. They have to step up and take advantage of their opportunities today. That will be the key to victory.
The Panthers are the favorites but will only win with strong goaltending and defense.
The Panthers have been saved by their goaltenders throughout the Playoffs. Today will be no different. Florida will need to see some dominant goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky. Florida will be in for a long night if he does not bring his A-game.
The Panthers’ defensemen have been excellent throughout this series. They have sometimes carried more of the load than the wingers and centers. The defensemen cannot slow down tonight and must bring the same intensity as in Game Three.
Brent Burns is in the back half of his career. The 38-year-old has been in the NHL since 2003 but is still excelling on the ice. He leads the Hurricanes in TOI in the Playoffs and also has seven assists. Burns must take charge of the Carolina defensemen today and limit the Panthers’ shots. He will be their second to last line of defense before the netminder.
I spoke a little bit about Sergei Bobrovsky above. He has stifled the Hurricanes’ offense this series, and Carolina has been left shaking its head. Bobrovsky has seen 135 shots this round and saved 132 of them. He has been their X-factor and will continue to be critical tonight.
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