The Carolina Panthers dispatched the New Jersey Devils in five games in the second round of the NHL playoffs, a feat that was matched a day later by the Florida Panthers as they advanced from their second round series in as many games with an overtime win over Toronto.
This sets up a southern-based Eastern Conference Final with a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in store for the winner.
The Hurricanes, who had the stronger regular season record of the two, enter as -135 favorites to advance at DraftKings Sportsbook, compared to +115 for the Panthers. Carolina is also the current favorite to win the Stanley Cup with +225 odds, ahead of Vegas at +260, Dallas at +310 and Florida at +330. Stay tuned for a DraftKings North Carolina promo code when the state officially legalizes mobile sports betting.
Martinook, Burns Key To Advancement
The Hurricanes have put on a clinical performance in these playoffs, rarely feeling as though they haven’t been in complete control of both of their series so far. The results back it up, as they have only seen three losses up to this point. If only there was the opportunity to bet on this squad across mobile North Carolina sports betting.
With stars Andrei Svechnikov and Max Pacioretty out for the playoffs, they’ve had to have different players step up at different times, and everyone has needed to buy in to coach Rod Brind’Amour’s system.
Jordan Martinook was the headline act in round two, putting up nine points after spending the regular season as a regular member of the third or fourth line with 34 points. With the injuries suffered, the Canes have shuffled their lines to have four relatively even units and Martinook has thrived with the extra opportunity and was a key reason for the series win.
Brent Burns was a beast on the back end for the second series in a row and is up to eight points in eleven games. Sebastian Aho shares the team lead with Martinook with ten points in the playoffs, and they are the only Hurricanes in the top 30 of the league in that stat at this point, a testament to their balanced scoring and the small amount of games they’ve needed to win their series.
Freddy Andersen has been back in net since the series clinching sixth game against the Islanders when he returned from injury to take over from Antti Raanta. Andersen has won five of his six starts with a game three dud in New Jersey his only blemish. Carolina has employed a goalie rotation for much of the season, but it appears as though it is Andersen’s net to lose, which is a good thing for Hurricanes fans and bettors.
Stay close to this site for North Carolina sports betting promos as the state moves towards full legislation.
Can Panthers Continue Cinderella Run?
Despite being favored, this series will be no walk in the park for Carolina as Florida offers a much different challenge than they have seen yet. Florida has already upset the record-setting Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs and will be going right back to their ‘us against the world’ mentality as the underdogs once again.
They are led up front by Matthew Tkachuk, who was a beast in the Boston series before slowing offensively against Toronto.
His line with Sam Bennett and Nick Cousins has given opponents fits all playoffs and offer a feistier and more aggressive forecheck than Carolina has seen yet. Beyond that line, they also have all-world two-way center Alex Barkov and 40 goal scorer Carter Verhaeghe amongst a medley of scoring options up front.
On the back end, Brandon Montour has stepped up as an offensive force and the unit has been solid as a whole. When they have given up shots, former Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky has had all the answers and was the biggest reason they beat the Maple Leafs. If he remains hot Carolina will need to be near perfect defensively to stay in games.
There is no doubt that this will be a hotly contested series and no one would be surprised to see it go at least six games. Hurricanes fans should be optimistic seeing their team as a favorite, but Florida has already upset two strong teams, making this a series that is almost impossible to handicap.
Game 1 is set for Thursday at 8pm ET on TNT from PNC Arena.