This article is part of our NHL Picks series.
NHL Best Bets for May 22: Expert NHL Picks and Props for Hurricanes vs. Panthers
The Carolina Hurricanes and the Florida Panthers do battle in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Finals series at FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, Fla. on Monday night. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on TNT.
The Hurricanes are in the unenviable position of being down 0-2 in the series as things shift to South Florida for the next two games. It's a familiar position for the Panthers, as they topped the Toronto Maple Leafs in each of the first two games on the road, eventually putting them to bed in five games.
Carolina has had difficulty finding a way to get on the scoresheet, with Sergei Bobrovsky obviously having a huge part in that. It's the kind of scoring, or lack thereof, that Hurricanes fans were concerned about when general manager Don Waddell and the team elected to stand pat at the NHL trade deadline. After winning the first two series, those concerns subsided, but they're back.
The Hurricanes have managed just three total goals on 103 shots in 201:38 in this series against Bobrovsky, both overtime victories for the Novokuznetsk, Russia native.
Carolina used Frederik Andersen for the marathon Game 1, which went to 4 OT. He stopped a franchise-record 57 shots in the 3-2 setback, and head coach Rod Brind'Amour elected to rest the veteran for Game 2, as Andersen has had a propensity for injury. Antti Raanta stopped 24 of the 26 shots he faced in the 2-1 OT loss, but like the series opener, Matthew Tkachuk was the hero in the extra session.
The difference between these teams has been razor-thin in the first two games, with Florida finding a way. Rearguard Jalen Chatfield scored his first-ever playoff goal in Game 2, but no one else was able to join him on the scoresheet. The big stars like Sebastian Aho, Brent Burns, Seth Jarvis and Martin Necas need to find a way, or Carolina could be pushed to the brink.
I am feeling Carolina in this spot, however. While there is a lot of pressure on the Hurricanes, this is a team that has been to the playoffs plenty under Brind'Amour. This team knows what it has to do, and I feel the Canes get it done in Game 3 in a low-scoring game to make a series of it. We saw the New Jersey Devils drop the first two games against the New York Rangers in Round 1 before bouncing back to win in seven. The series isn't over for Carolina, but it needs to get cracking.
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NHL Money Line Bets for Hurricanes vs. Panthers
- Hurricanes ML (+100 at BetRivers)
We have had two games in this series, but roughly 10 periods of hockey. These teams are still recovering from that marathon Game 1, and going to overtime in Game 2 didn't help. A slow, low-scoring game was predictable Saturday, and I think we get another defensive battle in this one.
In fact, the Under is 4-0 in the past four Conference Finals games for the Hurricanes, while going 5-1 in the past six meetings overall with the Panthers.
The Under has cashed in seven in a row for Florida, while going 6-0 in the past six games after a win, and 4-0 in the past four when playing on a day of rest. The Under is 6-0 in the past six games after allowing two or fewer goals in the previous outing, too.
NHL Totals Bets for Hurricanes vs. Panthers
- Under 5.5 (-106 at FanDuel)
NHL Player Props for Hurricanes vs. Panthers
Checking out the NHL player props for Game 3, while I am expecting a low-scoring game, there are still some players to key on for Monday's outing.
Florida's Tkachuk has been the hero in the first two games, providing winners in each game. Carter Verhaeghe has been lost in the shadows, a bit, although he has a goal and an assist in this series, and five goals across the past eight postseason games. As a result, he is a value play as an anytime scorer.
- Carter Verhaeghe Anytime Goal Scorer (+150 at BetMGM)
As far as the visitors are concerned, Martin Necas has scored three of his four playoff goals on the road, including two markers in Game 4 against the New Jersey Devils in the most recent road contest. Like Verhaeghe, Necas represents a tremendous value for a chance to nearly double up. The scoring should be at a premium, but Necas is a good bet to break through.
- Martin Necas Anytime Goal Scorer (+195 at BetMGM)