Panthers vs Rangers Prediction, Picks, and Odds for Tonight’s NHL Playoff Game

Scoring might be tough to come by in the early going of Game 1 between the Panthers and Rangers. Both teams feature elite goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky and Igor Shesterkin while Florida has struggled to get good shots on net.

Neil Parker - Analyst at
Neil Parker • Betting Analyst
May 22, 2024 • 17:21 ET • 4 min read
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This article contains predictions for an old game!

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A pair of division winners hit the ice tonight at Madison Square Garden for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final with the New York Rangers hosting the Florida Panthers.

Our top NHL picks and Panthers vs. Rangers predictions are calling for a low-scoring start to the series opener, with New York leaning on No. 1 goalie Igor Shesterkin, and Florida struggling to generate quality scoring chances.

Panthers vs Rangers prediction

My best bet
Under 1.5 goals in the first period (-120 at Pinnacle)

My analysis

I expect both teams to play conservatively while rolling all four lines early in Game 1. The Florida Panthers will aim to drive possession with an emphasis on playing heavy, while the New York Rangers will look to weather another early storm just like they did against the Carolina Hurricanes in Games 1 and 2 during the second round. 

One major difference to watch for will be Florida's shot volume and New York's shot quality at 5-on-5. The Panthers attempted 69.24 shots per 60 minutes in Round 2 but turned them into only 8.93 high-danger scoring chances and 2.35 expected goals, while the Rangers attempted 58.35 shots while generating 9.89 HDCF and 2.62 xGF. 

A second notable gap is the physicality, with Florida recording 47.15 hits per 60 compared to New York’s 30.04. 

Florida plays fast and heavy with an emphasis on putting pucks on net, while the Rangers have been prone to being caved in, surrendering shots in bunches and relying on No. 1 goalie Igor Shesterkin, who's been up to the task with a rock-solid .923 save percentage during the postseason.

Of course, Florida No. 1 Sergei Bobrovsky is also back in top form with just eight goals against with a .921 SV% across the final five games against the Boston Bruins. Goaltending has been a major reason why the Panthers have allowed just 2.02 goals per 60 minutes at 5-on-5 during the playoffs, and the Rangers have only surrendered 2.22.

New York can afford to lose the 5-on-5 possession battle if Florida doesn’t generate consistent high-quality chances, and while I expect the Panthers to be shot out of a cannon early, the Rangers will gladly watch Shesterkin make routine saves all night. New York has the depth up front and on the blue line to hold Florida in check, especially early on. 

Panthers vs Rangers same-game parlay (SGP)

Rangers moneyline

Under 1.5 1P goals

Igor Shesterkin Over 29.5 saves

New York impressed me in Round 2 against a deep and talented Carolina club, while Florida struggled to put away the Boston Bruins. In particular, I’m not convinced the Panthers can generate enough offense to outscore the Rangers if needed. Florida was held to just six goals across the final three games of Round 2 against Boston, and New York has a deeper and more talented lineup.

The final leg of this same-game parlay correlates with the two others, and as discussed, I expect Florida to fire pucks early and often in Game 1. The Panthers attempted the second-most shots per 60 (69.24) and registered the second-most shots per game (33.8) during Round 2, while the Rangers surrendered the most of both. Shesterkin will be busy.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

Panthers vs Rangers odds

Panthers vs Rangers live odds

Panthers vs Rangers opening odds

  • Puck line: Florida +1.5 (-270) | New York -1.5 (+220)
  • Moneyline: Florida -110 | New York -110
  • Over/Under: Over 5.5 (-105) | Under 5.5 (-115)

Panthers vs Rangers moneyline and Over/Under analysis

  • The moneyline for this game opened Saturday, so this is a mature betting market, and there hasn’t been notable movement to either side.
  • The Panthers are being overvalued overall because of their trip to the Stanley Cup Final last spring, in addition to the narrative that they’re built for playoff hockey.
  • The Rangers have played better on special teams, have the better goaltender, and have just as many stars jumping the boards. The futures prices on this series should be closer to the Game 1 odds.
  • There has been movement to the total at Pinnacle, with the shop opening with the Under 5.5 priced at -115 on Saturday and trading at -104 as of Wednesday morning.

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Panthers vs Rangers trend

There have only been 14 goals in the first period across Florida’s 11 postseason games. Find more NHL betting trends for Panthers vs. Rangers.

Panthers vs Rangers game info

Location: Madison Square, Garden, New York, NY
Date: Wednesday, 5-22-2024
Puck drop: 8:00 p.m. ET

Panthers vs Rangers latest injuries

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