Preview: 2024 Eastern Conference Final Game 1 – Florida Panthers vs. New York Rangers

  • Teams: Florida Panthers vs. New York Rangers
  • Date: Wednesday, May 22, 2024
  • Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
  • Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
  • Broadcast: ESPN, ESPN+, SN, CBC
  • Latest Odds: BetOnline NHL

The 2024 NHL Eastern Conference Finals are set to kick off with a thrilling matchup between the Florida Panthers and the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

This series marks the second postseason meeting between the two teams, the first since 1997 when the Rangers defeated the Panthers in the first round.

Season and Playoff Performances

The Rangers, having swept the Washington Capitals and defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, are entering the finals after some formidable performances. The Panthers secured their spot by overcoming the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins. 

This season, the Panthers finished with the Atlantic Division’s best record, indicating their strong regular season performance and playoff readiness.

Historical Context

The Panthers and Rangers have had their share of challenges and triumphs in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Florida reached the finals in 2023 but fell to the Vegas Golden Knights, while the Rangers last played for the Cup in 2014, losing to the Los Angeles Kings. The Rangers’ last championship win was in 1994, and they are eager to capture their fifth title.

Team Analysis

Florida Panthers (-106)

  • Regular Season Record: 52-24-6
  • Key Players: Sam Bennett, Matthew Tkachuk, Aleksander Barkov
  • Goaltender: Sergei Bobrovsky (Postseason GAA: 2.37, Save Percentage: .902)
  • Strengths: High scoring (3.55 goals per game), strong special teams (Power play: 22%, Penalty kill: 86.1%)
  • Challenges: Defense allowing 24.1 shots per game

New York Rangers (-106)

  • Playoff Highlights: Strong start with a 7-0 run, deep offensive lineup
  • Key Players: Multiple players with 10+ points
  • Goaltender: Igor Shesterkin (Postseason GAA: 2.80, Save Percentage: .919)
  • Strengths: Effective power play (31.4%), top penalty kill (89.5%)
  • Challenges: Defensive gaps, high number of shots allowed (32.5 per game)

Game 1 Betting Outlook

As the series opener approaches, both teams are gearing up for what promises to be a fiercely contested battle to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Panthers are expected to adopt a physical and offensive strategy to unsettle the Rangers right from the start. Given their regular-season success against New York and their playoff momentum, the Panthers are favored to take an early lead in the series. However, the Rangers’ depth and resilience, led by stellar goaltending from Shesterkin, will test Florida’s approach.

Team & Margin of VictoryOdds
Florida Panthers by 1+300
Florida Panthers by 2+550
Florida Panthers by 3+700
Florida Panthers by 4+1500
Florida Panthers by 5 or more+1400
New York Rangers by 1+300
New York Rangers by 2+500
New York Rangers by 3+700
New York Rangers by 4+1500
New York Rangers by 5 or more+2500

This table provides a detailed breakdown of the odds for various potential winning margins for both the Florida Panthers and the New York Rangers.

View game props at BetOnline

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