The first two games of the NHL's Eastern Conference Finals between the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes went to overtime, with the Panthers winning both in Raleigh. The series resumes with Game 3 on Monday night in Florida and the Panthers looking for a commanding 3-0 lead as -115 favorites at Caesars Sportsbook. Should they win in overtime, it would set an NHL record. Carolina is making another change in goal.
At BetMGM, Florida is -115 and taking 52% of the bets and 61% of the money. On the total of 5.5 goals, 54% of the bets and 77% of money the are on the Under.
The Hurricanes' Frederik Andersen stopped 57 shots in Thursday's 3-2 quadruple-overtime loss to the Panthers and took a seat for Game 2 because he essentially played two games in Game 1. Antti Raanta stopped 24 of 26 shots in the 2-1 OT loss in Game 2. Coach Rod Brind'Amour confirmed Andersen would start Game 3 after this morning's skate. Andersen has a 5-1 record this postseason in seven starts, having surrendered just 13 goals on 204 shots (.936 SV).
We could see history a few times tonight. The Panthers have won three straight OT games dating to Round 2 and are trying to become the first team ever with four OT wins in a row. Florida's Matthew Tkachuk followed up his quadruple-overtime goal in Game 1 by scoring the winner just 1:51 into extra time Saturday. He can become the first player in Stanley Cup playoff history with an overtime goal in three consecutive games and four overall during a single postseason. He also won Game 5 in Round 1 vs. Boston.
Three of the five most-wagered player props tonight are on Tkachuk: game's first goal scorer (+950), anytime goal scorer (+135) and last goal scorer (+950). The other two are on Carolina's Sebastian Aho as the first goal scorer (+1050) and Florida's Brandon Montour with at least five shots on goal (+270). Aho, who led the Hurricanes with 36 goals during the regular season, has just one goal in his past seven playoff games.
The Hurricanes are hoping to become the ninth team in NHL history and second in as many years to win a best-of-seven conference finals or semifinals series after dropping each of the first two games. Tampa Bay did it in 2022. Teams that have taken a 2-0 lead in the semifinal round of the playoffs have gone on to win the best-of-7 series 90.7% (78-8) of the time.
Florida is now -400 on this series line and Carolina is +333, with 60% of the money coming on the Panthers. Florida has won the two series in its history (2023 second round, 1996 conference quarterfinals) when leading 2-0.
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