The Florida Panthers remain favorites to win the NHL’s Eastern Conference title even though they were upset in Game 1 of their first-round series vs. the Washington Capitals. The Cats look to bounce back in Game 2 at home on Thursday as heavy favorites.
Nitrobetting is ready to dish out some slick assists to get bets into the back of the net. This time, let’s break down the upcoming 2022 Stanley Cup PLayoffs matchup between the Washington Capitals and the Florida Panthers. Be sure to be on the lookout for updated NHL odds at our online Bitcoin sportsbook before placing your bets.
Capitals vs. Florida Game 2 Information
- When: Thursday, May 5, 2021, 7:30 PM ET
- Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina
- TV: TBS, SN360, TVAS2, BSFL, NBCSWA/li>
- Radio: WJFK 106.7 FM (Capitals) // Miami’s 560 WQAM (Panthers)
- Live Stream: NHL Live
- NHL Betting Odds: Capitals (+194) / Panthers (+238)
Why Bet on the Washington Capitals?
Washington was without superstar Alex Ovechkin for the final three games of the regular season and lost them all in lopsided fashion. The NHL’s third all-time leading scorer returned for Game 1 at Florida on Tuesday and helped lead a 4-2 victory with an assist and a physical presence.
TJ Oshie had the go-ahead goal for the Caps. Just over two minutes after Evgeny Kuznetsov tied the game 2-2 with a goal against Sergei Bobrovsky midway through the third period, Oshie came through in stunning style, playing his shot off Nicklas Backstrom’s pass to put the Caps ahead by a goal.
It marked Washington’s first third-period comeback win in the playoffs since its Stanley Cup-clinching victory in Game 5 of the 2018 Final. Oshie’s six career game-winning goals in the postseason trail only Ovechkin (10) and Nicklas Backstrom (7) for the most in franchise history.
The Caps limited the Cats to just five shots after the Oshie goal, most of them from distance. With 48.2 seconds left, Lars Eller sealed the deal with a shot to the empty net from inside the Washington line.
“Well, I think our execution could be a little better,” said Panthers interim coach Andrew Brunette. “I thought we were a little sloppy; I don’t know if it was a little bit of nerves played an effect, or pressure. We didn’t handle ourselves completely correctly, and a lot of credit to [the Caps]. They played a really good road game. They did what they had to do on the road, and we made some mistakes near the end of the game.”
Vitek Vanecek stopped 30-of-32 shots in the big upset. Vanecek surrendered first- and second-period goals to Sam Bennett and Claude Giroux, respectively, after being handed a 1-0 lead on an early Tom Wilson goal. Vanecek locked in for a scoreless third period to give the Caps a window to come back from down 2-1, which they ultimately did. After his strong performance in the series opener, Vanecek will likely retain the starting job over Ilya Samsonov for Thursday’s Game 2.
The Capitals became the 12th team to defeat the Presidents’ Trophy winners in Game 1 of the first round, conference quarterfinals or division semifinals (since 1986 when the award was introduced), including a 7-1 mark in the last eight such contests.
Tom Wilson became the second player in franchise history to score the Capitals’ first goal of a postseason in consecutive years, joining Peter Bondra in 2000 and 2001. However, Wilson is still under evaluation for a lower-body injury suffered later in the first period. If he can’t play, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby or Connor McMichael would be the top options to enter the lineup, while Oshie would likely move back into the top six.
Why Bet on the Florida Panthers?
Giroux (26-48—74 in 86 GP) scored in his playoff debut with the Panthers and owns the second-most career postseason points among members of Florida’s roster behind Joe Thornton (32-102—134 in 186 GP).
Bennett had the other goal for Florida, the 13th goal of his playoff career. He has six points (two goals, four assists) in six postseason games since joining the Panthers prior to last year’s trade deadline. Bennett also dished out a team-leading eight hits against the Capitals in Game 1.
Bobrovsky allowed three goals on 37 shots in the loss. He had a 39-7-3 record, 2.67 GAA and .913 save percentage across 54 appearances during the 2021-22 regular season. However, Bobrovsky holds a not-great career GAA over 3.20 in the postseason (41 games).
Perhaps not a surprise that it was a one-goal game as all three regular-season meetings were one-goal games. Florida has the most home wins in the NHL during the season with 34 and Washington’s 25 road wins were tied for the most.
“Anything they got, we kind of gave to them,” said Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who returned to the lineup after missing the final six weeks of the regular season with a lower-body injury. “That’s often the situation in a hockey game with mistakes. We made some crucial ones.”
Capitals vs. Florida Betting Trends
- Capitals are 9-4 in the last 13 road games.
- Capitals are 1-4 in the last 5 vs. Eastern Conference.
- The total went under in 4 of Washington’s last 6 games.
- Panthers are 44-8 in the last 52 games as a home favorite.
- Panthers are 1-5 in the last 6 playoff games as a favorite.
- The total went under in 4 of Florida’s last 6 games.
Capitals vs. Florida Expert Betting Predictions
Panthers 3, Capitals 2
*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.