NHL Game 1 Preview: Panthers vs Hurricanes Odds, Pick, Prediction

NHL Game 1 Preview: Panthers vs Hurricanes Odds, Pick, Prediction article feature image

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images. Pictured: Frederik Andersen.

  • The Eastern Conference Finals get underway on Thursday as the Panthers and Hurricanes face off.
  • Elite goaltending has carried each of these teams through the playoffs and our expert is backing the defense again here.
  • Continue reading to see how Jonny Lazarus is betting the first period in Panthers vs. Hurricanes Game 1.

Panthers vs Hurricanes Odds

Panthers Odds+126
Hurricanes Odds-152
Over/Under5. (-128 / +104)
Time8 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Eastern Conference Final is set to kick off as we make a Panthers vs Hurricanes pick for Game 1 in a matchup that very few saw coming.

The Panthers barely made it into the postseason, but are now looking to get back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1996. They have won six straight games on the road, but will be facing a team that has been absolute dynamite on home ice.

The Hurricanes have won 14 of their past 16 playoff games at PNC Arena and it can be argued that they have one of the best crowds in the NHL.

Game 1 is an opportunity for a team to set the tone, but the opening period can be a tad chaotic and filled with high emotions. The first 20 minutes will be very exciting to watch. Let's break down the Panthers vs Hurricanes odds and make a pick for Game 1.

Florida Panthers

The "Comeback Cats" have been riding the wave this postseason, thanks to an absolutely incredible run from goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. He may not have started in the playoffs, but since taking over for Alex Lyon, Bobrovsky has entered the Conn Smythe Trophy conversation.

Bobrovsky boasts a .918 save percentage and a 2.82 goals against average. He's also boasting a playoff best +9.3 goals saved above expected. As outstanding as Bobrovsky has been, he hasn't had to do it alone as his teammates have done a fantastic job limiting their opponents' scoring opportunities.

At 5-on-5, the Panthers are only allowing 12 high-danger scoring chances against, but still have room to tighten things up in their own zone. As a team, the Panthers are allowing 3.08 goals against per game and were able to limit the Maple Leafs to two or fewer goals in every game of the second round.

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Carolina Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes play a defensive style, which is why they're consistently one of the toughest teams to play against. The Canes are only allowing 2.55 goals per game, which is the second-lowest of all 16 teams that were in the playoffs. Their netminder, Frederik Andersen, has been arguably better than Bobrovsky.

Andersen enters the Conference Finals with a .931 save percentage and a 1.80 goals against average, along with a +3.9 goals saved above expected (third best). Andersen has been a big reason why the Canes have been so successful on the penalty kill in the postseason. In fact, Carolina is skating to a 90% success rate. Their power play hasn't been as productive as they'd like, but their penalty kill has certainly made up for it.

Carolina has been much better than expected when it comes to offensive production, scoring 3.64 goals per game. However, their starts haven't been as explosive as they would like as a majority of their goals have come in the second and third periods.

Panthers vs Hurricanes Pick

Game 1's are very similar to Game 7's in the sense that both teams are typically a little bit more hesitant to take risks. There will certainly be a feeling-out process as each tries to establish its respective game in the opening minutes.

The Carolina Hurricanes have been very strong defensively in their defensive end in the opening period. They are allowing 0.62 goals in the opening 20 minutes, while also averaging 0.95 goals for in that same span.

The Florida Panthers haven't been as dominant defensively, giving up 0.86 goals while scoring 0.98 goals in the opening frame.

With that being said, both netminders have excelled in the postseason and the first period is expected to be full of strong defensive play.

I love the under in the opening frame.

Pick: Under 1.5 Goals 1st Period -120 (BetMGM)

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