NHL Picks: Best Bets for Rangers vs Panthers Game 3 (Sunday, May 26)

NHL Picks: Best Bets for Rangers vs Panthers Game 3 (Sunday, May 26) article feature image

(Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images) Pictured: Igor Shesterkin.

Check out Nicholas Martin's NHL best bets with picks for Rangers vs. Panthers Game 3 on Sunday, May 26.

The opening two matchups of the Eastern Conference Finals have been nail-biters, and it's very fitting that this series shifts to Sunrise tied at one.

The Panthers closed at -115 on the moneyline in Game 2, and are now priced as heavy -155 favorites as hosts in Game 3. The total remains set at 5.5, but with slightly more juice to the under at -135.

Below, I've outlined my best bets for Rangers vs. Panthers Game 3 and for the series.

(NHL fans: Use our FanDuel promo code for your hockey action tonight!)

NHL Picks – Rangers vs. Panthers Best Bets

Under 5.5

As a general rule in the NHL, well-executed game plans tend to lead to lower scoring games. Once both teams are playing with such a high level of urgency and attention to detail defensively, it's very tough to change anything significant from a tactical perspective to create more offense and find space.

Generating quality chances has proven difficult for both teams in this series so far, and when called upon, both elite goaltenders have been sharp. It seems unlikely that we will see a drastically looking matchup in Game 3, and for that reason I feel there is still value on the Under 5.5.

It also makes believe the Rangers are the more valuable betting side in terms of moneyline prices, though I'm not quite there at +130.

Both sides have exactly 52 shots on goal through the opening two matchups. Per NaturalStatTrick, high danger chances in the series are also even at 23 apiece.

The Rangers' defensive play has been quite sharp so far in the series, and they have insulated Igor Shesterkin far better in the playoff runs previous to this one overall in 2024. They have allowed only 2.61 xGA/60 in the first two games, and it has been clear that in five-on-five play New York is hanging in better than expected.

When called upon this postseason, Shesterkin has been fantastic, as he owns a +9.8 GSAx and .926 save percentage in 12 games played.

The Rangers' power-play unit has been far less threatening than expected in the opening two games. New York was 9-of-35 on the power play entering this series, but is 0-of-6 in the opening two matchups. They have had a very tough time generating controlled zone entries and have not looked particular close to breaking through.

The Panthers' defensive play has looked true to its strong reputation all postseason long, and that notion is reflected by a 2.79 xGA/60 rating. In last year's postseason, the Panthers were a team that essentially "goalied" their way into the final, as Sergei Bobrovsky put up a 16.7 GSAx. Now they aren't asking for nearly as much, but Bobrovsky has been sharp when called upon with a 6.3 GSAx this postseason.

There is value betting the Under 5.5 once again at anything better than -140 in this matchup.

The Pick: Under 5.5 (-135 via DraftKings | Play to -140)

Artemi Panarin Under 3.5 Shots on Goal

One particular Rangers skater who has not had as many looks as normal in this defensive struggle of a series has been Artemi Panarin. It seems to me this prop is held up a little too high based upon his reputation, as it's going to continue to prove tough for him to generate shots on target in this matchup.

Panarin put up six shots on goal in the opening seven periods of this series from 11 attempts on net.

Whichever Rangers line has gone head-to-head with Aleksander Barkov's unit has struggled so far, as New York has generated only 0.35 expected goals in the series versus the Barkov line. One advantage the Panthers will have on home ice is last change, and they will likely use that edge to try and match Barkov's line against Panarin's as much as possible.

Panarin's offensive upside is also suffering because the Rangers' power play is having a far tougher time creating spells of sustained offensive zone play.

There is value betting Panarin to record under 3.5 shots on goal at anything better than -155.

The Pick: Artemi Panarin Under 3.5 Shots on Goal (-150 via DraftKings | Play to -155)

Phone With the Action App Open
The must-have app for NHL bettors
The best NHL betting scoreboard
Free picks from proven pros
Live win probabilities for your bets

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.