The Florida Panthers (42-32-8, 23-13-5 home) can eliminate the Carolina Hurricanes (52-21-9, 24-11-6 away) at home on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. Florida has dominated the series thanks to a superb defense, surrendering only three goals over the first three games.
The puck drops at 8 p.m. EST inside the FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Florida. The Panthers are the betting favorite (-115 moneyline) while the over/under tally is 5.5 goals.
What to Know – Carolina Hurricanes
Carolina breezed through the first two rounds of the playoffs but are one loss away from coming up short of a finals berth. The Hurricanes, who earned the top seed on the Eastern-side of the bracket, knocked off the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils in the first two rounds of the postseason. NHL teams are 4-200 all-time in the playoffs when losing the first three games.
Scoring has come from all over for Carolina in the postseason, with three players scoring five goals. Sebastian Aho leads the Hurricanes in points with 12, scoring five goals and tallying seven assists. Seth Jarvis (five goals, five assists) and Jordan Martinook (three goals, seven assists) are tied with ten points a piece.
Defensively, the Hurricanes have used a combination of Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta just like the team deployed during regular season play. Statistically, Andersen has been the better of the two in the playoffs, surrendering 1.58 goals per game and sporting a .937 save percentage. Raanta has given up 2.48 goals against per game and showcasing a .909 save percentage.
What to Know – Florida Panthers
The Cinderella story rolls on with the Panthers on the verge of playing for the Stanley Cup for just the second time in franchise history. The second wild card spot in the East, Florida has bounced the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs in the first and second rounds.
On offense, the Panthers are led statistically by Matthew Tkachuk who’s been brilliant during the playoffs with 19 points. Tkachuk has scored seven goals himself but assisted on 12 others, including the lone goal scored in Game 3 victory. Carter Verhaeghe has supplied six goals, and eight assists to earn 14 points in 15 games played this postseason.
Sergei Bobrosky has been a dominant force between the posts in this series. He stopped all 32 shots he faced in the Game 3 victory and 132 of the 135 shots he’s faced over the three games. He’s allowing 2.15 goals per game in the postseason with a .935 dave percentage.
The Pick is In
The pressure is all on the Hurricanes to extend the series, while the Panthers would love to send Carolina home and punch their ticket to the finals on their home ice. Expect the game to be another tight battle, with goals continuing to come at a premium. We like another low-scoring dogfight here.
The Pick: Carolina/Florida UNDER 5.5 goals