Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#75 Florida Panthers vs.
#76 Washington Capitals
Saturday, May 7, 2022 at 1:00pm EDT
Capital One Arena, Washington
Written by Mike Fink

The Florida Panthers face the Washington Capitals in Game Three of the First Round with the series tied at one game apiece. The Panthers, who won the Presidents' Trophy, were upset in Game One 4-2 but bounced back in a dominant 5-1 Game Two win. The Capitals, meanwhile, are coming off a tough loss but have already stolen a game on the road and look to gain momentum in the First Round series as Games Three and Four will be on their home ice.

Panthers offense looks to build off dominant Game Two

The Panthers' offense scored a league-high 4.11 goals per game this season and Game Two reflected that as the team scored five goals in the dominant win. Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, and Anthony Duclair have scored a goal and three assists combined to lead the top line but this series has displayed the depth of the offense with the entire unit stepping up. Carter Verhaeghe, Claude Giroux, and Sam Bennett have combined for three goals and three assists while defensemen Aaron Ekblad, Brandon Montour, and Radko Gudas have added a goal and four assists from the point to open up the offense.

The offense has led the way but the defense rebounded in Game Two as well, allowing only one goal after allowing four goals in Game One. Aaron Ekblad and MacKenzie Weegar, who combined for 9.8 defensive point shares and 225 blocked shots this season, led the top pairing but the rest of the defense also stepped up with Radko Gudas, Gustav Forsling, and Brandon Montour turning defense into instant offense with quick turnovers in the defensive zone. In addition, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is having a strong series in the net with a.938 save percentage and a 2.02 goals-against average on 64 shots.

Capitals will turn to offense in Game Three

The Capitals were carried by their offense throughout the season, scoring 3.29 goals per game, and will hope the unit can bounce back from a one-goal Game Two. Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov have scored a goal and two assists to lead the top line while Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie have added two goals and an assist to the second line but the rest of the offense has struggled. Moreover, the Capitals will have to replace Tom Wilson who scored 24 goals and 28 assists this season but is day to day with a lower-body injury.

In addition to hoping the offense bounce back, the Capitals hope the defense can rebound after allowing five goals in Game Two. Nick Jensen and Dmitry Orlov, who combined for 10.2 defensive point shares and 186 blocked shots this season, have played well on the top pairing, limiting shots on the net but the rest of the defensive unit struggled in Game Two, allowing the Panthers to easily find open ice in the offensive zone. Moreover, goaltender Vitek Vanecek saved 30 of the 32 shots in Game One but unraveled in Game Two, allowing five goals on only 29 shots and hopes to bounce back in the upcoming game.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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The Capitals look to bounce back from an embarrassing loss and can easily pull off the upset and provide great odds in the process as home Underdogs. The problem is that the Panthers proved in Game two why they finished with the best record in the NHL and look to once again overwhelm the Capitals in Game Three. The Panthers should pile on the goals with Jonathan Huberdeau, Anthony Duclair, and the rest of the forward unit establishing a strong offensive zone presence and creating open shots with great puck movement. The Panthers' defense also looks to build off a one-goal game and limit the Capitals' offense with Aaron Ekblad, Radko Gudas, and the rest of the defensive unit creating turnovers at the blue line and limiting the Capitals from finding open ice with the puck while goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky steps up in the net and makes plenty of big saves. The Panthers should win Game Three and cover the spread to take the series lead and the momentum of the series as well.

Prediction: Panthers -1.5 (+125)

Full-Game Total Pick

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The first two games of the series were both six-goal games, indicating that the upcoming game will be another low-scoring one with both defenses stepping up. However, both the Capitals and the Panthers have been carried by their offenses and both teams look to find the back of the net throughout the game. The Capitals, who scored four goals in Game One, should pile on the goals with Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and the rest of the forward unit creating open shots with quick passes in the offensive zone to catch the Panthers out of position for shots from the face-off circles and the slot. The Panthers look to build off a five-goal game and run up the score with Jonathan Huberdeau, Anthnoy Duclair, Sam Bennett, and the rest of the forward unit overwhelming the Capitals' defense with speed in all three zones and creating open shots with great passes in the offensive zone while defensemen Aaron Ekblad and Radko Gudas pick apart the Capitals defense from the point. The Over should cover in a high-scoring game controlled by both offenses.

Prediction: Over 6.5
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Written By Mayer Fink , "Mike Fink"

Mike Fink is a sports writer and a passionate football fan. After graduating from college, Fink picked up the passion he had since being a young child in following and covering all things sports and we are very excited to have him as a part of the StatSalt team. In recent weeks, Mike started a podcast which you can find on Spotify, called "The Mike and Grover Show" and it discusses all things football. He covers all forms of sports betting and also bets on all of the plays he gives out. Mike would advise hockey betting since the odds give you great payouts "Hockey is built to bet the Money Line Underdogs. Be sure and follow him on a daily basis. 
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