Florida Panthers will host the Washington Capitals on Thursday evening in Game 2 of the NHL playoffs. The home side seeks improvement after losing the opening match. The visitors look forward to building up on their latest display and celebrating another victory.
Although they have the home-ice advantage, the hosts failed to take advantage of it in the series opener. Nevertheless, they want to level the tie and go to Washington with a win in their pockets. On the other hand, Washington showed how they could be dangerous in the post-season. The away side is full of confidence, and they want to capitalize on their momentum.
Florida Panthers – Will they win on the home ice?
Things have not started as planned for the Panthers since they are 1-0 down after the opening match of the series. Therefore, they lost their fourth match on the last five occasions, and the latest one was the most important. Florida couldn’t capitalize on the Caps’ four straight defeats, and they fell to a 4-2 loss. Despite having a lead early in the second period, their performance completely dropped in the final third. The Panthers were not dominant enough on the home ice in Game 1, allowing the opponents to fire six shots more than them.
Claude Giroux and Sam Bennett were the only two Panthers players to get their names displayed on the scoresheet. They produced one goal each, while their most efficient player from the regular season, Jonathan Huberdeau, failed to score or log an assist. Sam Reinhart and Aleksander Barkov also didn’t manage to enter the goals or assists charts, which was the main reason for Florida’s failure. On the goal, Sergei Bobrovsky had a .919 save percentage and saved 34 shots during the game.
Expected Line-Up: Sergei Bobrovsky, MacKenzie Weegar, Brandon Montour, Jonathan Huberdeau, Sam Reinhart, Carter Verhaeghe
with best odds
Washington Capitals – Can they produce another surprise?
Although they entered the playoffs on a losing streak, the Capitals started winning when it mattered the most. Despite trailing 2-1, they managed to turn around the result and book a valuable away victory. Washington is a very experienced team, and nobody should write them off in this series, despite the Panthers being excellent this season. The Caps had six shots more than their rivals, and they completely controlled the game in the final period. They hope for a similar outcome in Game 2, and their confidence is sky-high at the moment.
Alex Ovechkin contributed to Washington’s success in Game 1 by producing an assist. We can still see more from him since the legendary player was the team’s most efficient skater in the regular season. Evgeny Kuznetsov managed to convert one of his chances into a goal, while Lars Eller, T.J. Oshie, and Tom Wilson also got their names displayed on the scoresheet. Washington had only eight penalty minutes during the match, while Vitek Vanecek kept their defense tight with a .938 save percentage.
Expected Line-Up: Ilya Samsonov, Dmitry Orlov, John Carlson, Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson, Evgeny Kuznetsov
Expert Pick #1 – Over 6.5 @-130
I anticipate a game with seven or more goals in total since their previous head-to-head clashes have also been pretty efficient. The latest one stayed under the margin due to Florida’s lack of productivity in the final period. Nevertheless, the Panthers will attack more than in the first match on the home ice, and I’ll take the Over as my first pick.
Expert Pick #2 – Capitals Over 2.5 @-125
The Caps showed that they are very capable of beating such a strong team as Florida away from home. They will eye another victory, and I expect the visitors to produce at least three goals in this encounter. I’ll back this pick as my second bet.
Expert Pick #3 – Capitals to win @+205
Although the odds are ridiculously high for this one, I’ll try with a long shot. Washington might take advantage of good momentum and the fact that Florida will have huge pressure to succeed in this game. Let’s try backing the visitors as the third pick.