NHL Eastern Conference Finals Preview: Game 3 Picks for Florida Panthers vs. New York Rangers

NHL Eastern Conference Finals Preview: Game 3 Picks for Florida Panthers vs. New York Rangers

This article is part of our NHL Picks series.

NHL Picks: New York Rangers at 
Florida Panthers  
Game 3 NHL Best Bets and Player Props

The Eastern Conference Final between the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers shifts south for Game 3 of this best-of-seven series. The series is tied at 1-1. Puck drop from Amerant Bank Arena is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET, and the game can be viewed or streamed on ABC and ESPN+.

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The Panthers fired out to a 1-0 series lead in Game 1, as Sergei Bobrovsky stood on his head at Madison Square Garden, turning aside all 24 shots he faced in a 3-0 victory.

Matthew Tkachuk, Carter Verhaeghe (kinda) and Sam Bennett notched goals in the first game. Verhaeghe had a pass tipped in by Alexis Lafreniere, as the Rangers had an own goal against Igor Shesterkin. Bennett's goal was of the empty-net variety, so really, the Panthers had just one legitimate goal on Shesterkin. The problem for the Rangers, they had zero pucks into the net of Bobrovsky.

In Game 2, the Rangers turned the tables a little bit. Vincent Trocheck, a former Panther, opened the scoring at 4:12 of the first period to get that ridiculous goal song going at Madison Square Garden, while getting the fans out of their seats.

Verhaeghe answered back at 18:09 of the first, notching a power-play goal, making it 1-1. That's how it stayed for the rest of regulation. The teams played 14:01 into overtime before Barclay Goodrow became the unlikeliest of heroes, bagging the winner on a pretty pass from Trocheck, after Jacob Trouba got it out of the zone with some quick stick work.

Bob allowed just the two goals on 30 shots in the OTL, while Shesterkin again allowed just one legitimate goal on 27 shots, as the Rangers avoided an 0-2 series hole. That's a good thing, too, as only one team, the 1945 Detroit Red Wings, came back to win in the conference finals after losing the first two games at home.

The Panthers won two of the three games in the regular season, with the Over cashing in each of those games. Two of the three meetings were decided by one goal, and that trend has carried over into the postseason. The Over cashed in all three of those games, but each of the playoff games have been lower-scoring games with the Under hitting in each outing. The Over was 19-0-1 in 20 straight meetings prior to the playoff series, but these teams don't care about betting trends.

The home and road team have split the past eight meetings in this series, and four of the past six battles have resulted in one-goal games. As such, you have to bet more with a gut feel, rather than trends, because the latter is all over the board.

The Panthers are on home ice for the first time in this series. Despite the win in Game 2, the Rangers have had trouble solving Bobrovsky. The best bet is taking the home side as moderate favorites.

NHL Moneyline Bets for Rangers at Panthers

  • Panthers ML (-155 at DraftKings)

Again, the Over was 3-0 in three regular-season meetings, while going 19-0-1 in the previous 20 meetings before these playoffs started. The Under has cashed in each of the past two battles in this series, however.

The Under has been a theme for the Panthers, going 5-0 in the past five playoff games. The Florida offense has managed just 10 goals in the past five games, or 2.0 goals per game (GPG), while allowing just 10 total goals in the past seven outings, or 1.4 GPG. A lot of that has been Bobrovsky's doing.

For the visitors, the offense has dried up, with only the two goals in Game 2, and only one in regulation. The Panthers have been hard on the power play for the Rangers, too, which isn't helping matters for New York. In fact, the Rangers are 0-for-6 on the man advantage in this series, which is music to the ears of Under bettors.

NHL Totals Bets for New York Rangers at Florida Panthers

  • Under 5.5 (-140 at Caesars)

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NHL Player Props for New York Rangers at Florida Panthers

For the player props, we're looking at a low-scoring game. In fact, we've had just five total goals in the two games at Madison Square Garden, so a shift to South Florida isn't likely to change things. As such, we'll shy away from any Anytime Goal Scorer (AGS) props, as they just haven't been coming in.

For the visitors, this one is a little on the expensive side, but hear me out. Filip Chytil played in back-to-back games for the first time in these playoffs. He missed the final 72 regular-season games due to concussion, and he was limited to just one playoff game against the Hurricanes prior to this series. While he went without a shot in Game 1, he had two shots on goal in Game 2, and was much more involved. As he plays his third consecutive contest, he'll continue getting his sea legs, and exceed his shot total target again in Game 3.

For the home team, Bobrovsky is likely to see a ton of rubber in this one, and it will be in the shape of pucks, not rats. The Florida tendy made 28 saves in Game 2, and he just missed his target of 24.5 saves in Game 1, at least if you had the Over on that prop.

Remember, Bobrovsky needs to make 24 or more saves in regulation, as this prop doesn't spill over into regulation.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Dobish
Hockey writer, unskilled fourth liner, fantasy and gambling industry veteran, handicapper, FSWA's 2011 fantasy hockey writer of the year nominee and four-time FSWA award winner. Twitter: @danieledobish
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