Tight Game Expected Once Again

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Hurricanes vs. Panthers, 8:00 ET

Both of the Conference Finals in the NHL have teams going into Game 3 with a 2-0 lead. Tonight, the Florida Panthers look to go up 3-0 on the Carolina Hurricanes. This is a big game for both teams, but obviously, the Hurricanes need it more than the Panthers. The first two rounds of the NHL were very good, but I haven’t been as hot in this round. I’ll turn it around here.

Game 1 was a historic playoff game with it going to four overtimes. In that contest, the teams combined for just five goals. Obviously, if they scored in any of the first three overtimes it wouldn’t have gotten to the fourth one, but even during the regulation time, they had a total of four goals in the game. Game 2 was also a defensive battle, that game saw just two total goals in regulation before the Panthers took the victory in overtime. So, we’ve seen around 200 minutes of hockey from these squads and we’ve seen only eight goals in the matchup. I am a bit surprised about the defensive focus on this series as that doesn’t seem to be the strength of either team.

The Conference Finals shift to Flordia as the Panthers take on the Hurricanes. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

This game has to be another defensive effort from the Panthers. Their goalie, Sergei Bobrovsky, has been great this series, but he has given up the lead in both of the games before the Panthers come back and take the lead. How great has he been though? Essentially Bobrovsky has been excellent with a .970+ save percentage the first two games. Now he has his home crowd behind him. He stopped 100 of 103 shots this series. For the Hurricanes, it isn’t that the goalies have performed terribly or something. They’ve been very good actually. Frederik Andersen allowed three goals on 60 attempts. Antti Raanta only had to face 26 shots in Game 2, but he allowed two goals. Normally that would be good enough for them to win, but it wasn’t in that contest.

Overall, I expect this to be a trend in the series. Both teams seem to have put additional emphasis on the defensive pressure and aren’t allowing either to get comfortable offensively. I’m going to take the under in this one as well. With the shift to Florida, maybe there is a shift in the way the games are played, but I feel like the Panthers are going to keep doing what has worked. I’ll take under 5.5 tonight in Game 3.

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Written by David Troy

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