This article is part of our NHL Picks series.
NHL Best Bets for May 20: Expert NHL Picks and Props for Panthers vs. Hurricanes
The Florida Panthers and Carolina Panthers square off in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Finals series at PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on TNT.
The Panthers picked up the 3-2 victory in 4OT in Thursday's series opener in a wild affair which broke so many postseason records on both sides.
Thursday's Game 1 was the sixth-longest postseason game in NHL history. Sergei Bobrovsky kicked aside a franchise-record 63 of the 65 shots he faced, and he is just the third goaltender since 1956 to have 50 or more saves in consecutive postseason games.
Frederik Andersen was also very good, making 57 saves, although he was beaten by Matthew Tkachuk with just 12.7 seconds left in 4OT for the difference maker. The Great Dane also set a franchise postseason record with 57 saves, besting the previous mark set by Frank Pietrangelo in 1992, when the team was located in Hartford.
Bobrovsky didn't start these playoffs as the starting goalie, but he has an 8-2 record, 2.43 GAA and .927 SV% in 10 starts and 11 appearances. The eight wins are a career best for a postseason for the veteran.
On the flip side, Andersen suffered his first loss in seven postseason starts. He is now 5-1 with a sparkling 1.65 GAA and .936% in these playoffs, his first postseason action since Aug. 2020 when he was with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He missed last season's playoff run due to a lower-body injury.
We had players on both sides logging some hefty minutes, especially among the rearguards. Florida's Brandon Montour averaged 26:26 of TOI in the regular season, but he was good for 57:56 in Game 1. Radko Gudas posted 36:23 of TOI in the series opener, but he logged six blocked shots and 12 hits to lead the way.
As far as offense, in addition to Tkachuk's winner, Aleksander Barkov and Carter Verhaeghe each had a goal and an assist, with both logging over 44 minutes of ice time.
For the home side, Brent Burns was a beast, as usual, posting an assist with eight shots on goal, 10 blocked shots and five hits in 54:43 of ice time, a franchise record for a single game. Seth Jarvis was the offensive hero, posting a goal and an assist, while Stefan Noesen also had a goal in regulation.
The legs are going to be tired, and Carolina not only has the task of physical recovery, but mental recovery. I think the Hurricanes get it done on home ice, but it's going to be a low-scoring Game 2.
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NHL Money Line Bets for Panthers vs. Hurricanes
- Hurricanes ML (-148 at BetRivers)
The legs are sure to be tired on both sides, and you can expect each team to be sucking wind, looking like they're skating in sand, especially as the game goes on. In fact, I really love the Under 1.5 1st Period Goals (-135 at Caesars).
The Under has cashed in six in a row for the Panthers, while going 4-0 in the past four games on the road, too. The Under is 5-0 in the past five following a win, too.
For the Hurricanes, the Under was a rarity, cashing in each of the past two. However, the Over is still 7-3-1 across the past 11 games overall, while going 3-3-1 in seven postseason games on home ice so far this season.
After the marathon session, and based on the Florida trends, it's a good idea to back the Under again for Game 2.
NHL Totals Bets for Panthers vs. Hurricanes
- Under 5.5 (+104 at BetRivers)
NHL Player Props for Panthers vs. Hurricanes
Looking to the NHL player props for Game 2, while it should be a lower-scoring affair, we'll still get some goals.
Sebastian Aho was held off the scoresheet in Game 1, but he had an assist to give him five goals and 11 points in 12 games. The safe play is playing Aho just to notch a single point. You'll have to eat some chalk, but it's worth it.
- Sebastian Aho Over 0.5 Points (-165 at BetMGM)
For the Panthers, Gudas has been a huge physical presence, while also paying the price on the defensive end. He blocked six shots in Game 1 in his 36:23 of ice time. Obviously, he won't be logging that kind of minutes in Game 2, but he should still sacrifice the body plenty. He simply needs to get to two blocked shots to make this a winning play, and that's too good to pass up.
- Radko Gudas Over 1.5 Blocked Shots (-150 at BetMGM)