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NHL Predictions: May 22 w/ Florida Panthers vs New York Rangers

NHL predictions

Welcome back to another day of NHL Predictions. Each day, Last Word on Hockey takes a look at the games that are happening and gives our predictions for each one, breaking down head-to-head and other factors that may play in. We also have a featured game of the day, which is considered must-watch TV. Today’s featured game is the Florida Panthers vs New York Rangers. Be sure to check out more NHL predictions in the coming days as the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup playoffs roll on.

NHL Predictions

Florida Panthers vs New York Rangers

Season Head-to-Head: Panthers 2-1 Rangers

TV: ESPN, Sportsnet, TVAS, CBC

We’re finally at the final four of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Eastern Conference Final as the Rangers battle the Panthers in a best-of-seven. Florida is looking to get back to the Stanley Cup Final for a second straight year. However, New York is trying to make its first final since 2014 and hoist its first title since 1994.

Both of these teams won their respective divisions. It’s been a much-hyped event that many are saying could go the distance. Let’s take a look at the breakdown heading into Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final.

The Panthers Story

Florida beat the Boston Bruins in six games to eliminated the Bs for the second straight season. Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start once again and he’s been solid this post-season like the last one. Matthew Tkachuk leads the team in points this playoff run with 14. Selke Trophy winner Aleksander Barkov is close behind with 13 points while Carter Verhaeghe is first in goals with six.

The Panthers boast a lot of depth and can use all four lines to wear down the opposition. Florida also plays a very heavy game and can be physically relentless on the other team. Players like Tkachuk also aren’t afraid to mix it up when things get tough.

The Rangers Story

New York dispatched the Carolina Hurricanes in six games, but the two halves of the series were extreme. The Rangers raced out to a 3-0 series lead, but all the games were close. Carolina won two straight games and was one period away from forcing a pivotal Game 7. However, Chris Kreider netted a third-period hat trick and willed the Blueshirts to a 5-3 series-clinching win in Raleigh.

Igor Shesterkin will get the start once again and has been lights out for most of the post-season. New York is led in points by Vincent Trocheck and Mika Zibanejad with 14 while Artemi Panarin has 11 so far. Kreider leads the team in goals with seven while Trochck is second with six. The Rangers also can throw their weight around as well with players like Barclay Goodrow. New York’s bottom-half has been anchored by the line of Kaapo Kakko, Alexander Wennberg and Will Cuylle.

Prediction

This is going to be the heavyweight fight that we hoped it would. Expect some tough play and big hits. The Rangers also may put Blake Wheeler in the lineup and Filip Chytil could also be more active. However, the Panthers will set the tone with their physical play and take the series-opener.

Prediction: Panthers win 3-2.

Prop Bets of the Night

We have some prop bets that might get you through the night. A number of books have this as a fairly even series, so wager accordingly.

The over/under for tonight is 5.5, but we feel the under might be the right play with the teams being off since Friday and Saturday, respectively. For the individual teams, go with Trocheck and Barkov each getting the over on +0.5 assists tonight for their teams.

Main photo by: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

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