Panthers vs. Rangers Preview

The Florida Panthers are looking for their second Stanley Cup Finals appearance in three seasons. The New York Rangers are looking for their first since 2014. Florida has never won the Stanley Cup and New York hasn’t lifted the trophy since 1994.

This series features the two Eastern Conference division winners, as the Rangers won the Presidents Trophy with 114 points en route to a Metropolitan Division crown, while the Panthers had 110 points and bested the Bruins by a point in the Atlantic. To get to this point, both the Panthers and Rangers beat the teams that finished in second place in their respective divisions.


Let’s look at the dates and the matchup for Panthers vs. Rangers:

Panthers vs. Rangers Series Odds

Florida Panthers -150 // New York Rangers +130

Panthers vs. Rangers Schedule

  • Game 1: @ NYR, Wednesday May 22, 8 p.m.
  • Game 2: @ NYR, Friday May 24, 8 p.m.
  • Game 3: @ FLA, Sunday May 26, 3 p.m.
  • Game 4: @ FLA, Tuesday May 28, 8 p.m.
  • Game 5: @ NYR, Thursday May 30, 8 p.m.*
  • Game 6: @ FLA, Saturday June 1, 8 p.m.*
  • Game 7: @ NYR, Monday June 3, 8 p.m.*

(* – if necessary)

(All Times ET)

Panthers vs. Rangers Preview

The Panthers led the Eastern Conference in goal differential during the regular season at +68, while the Rangers were third at +53. Florida was the best team in hockey when it came to goals against at 5-v-5 with 119. The Rangers were actually only +1 in goal differential at 5-v-5, while the Panthers were +38. 

New York’s excellent special teams play was a big part of their success, as they ranked third in both PP% and PK%, while the Panthers ranked eighth and sixth, respectively. The Panthers only scored two fewer power play goals, and actually drew 22 more power play opportunities.

While Florida’s defensive prowess, and the play of Sergei Bobrovsky, stands out, the Panthers scored the fewest 5-v-5 goals of any playoff team aside from the Capitals, who were no match for the Rangers in the first round. That put the onus on Bobrovsky and also backup netminder Anthony Stolarz, as both guys had excellent numbers. “Bob” posted a 2.37 GAA with a .915 SV% and finished eighth in goals saved above average (GSAA) with 12.06. Stolarz was fourth in GSAA with 15.96, but he has yet to see the ice this postseason.

Igor Shesterkin had a 2.58 GAA and a .913 SV% in the regular season. He ranked 20th in GSAA with 5.80.

Here in the playoffs, Florida is +5 in goal differential at 5-v-5, while the Rangers are only +1. New York has cashed in on over 31% of power play opportunities, while Florida is a few notches down at 22%. The Panthers have definitely faced a tougher slate of opponents, as Tampa Bay was a much stronger first-round participant than Washington.

Both teams have struggled to create high-danger scoring chances at 5-v-5 and both teams have allowed more chances. Florida is -15 in high-danger chance differential and New York is -20. That may be the key to the series here. The team that is better able to generate offense in that game state likely wins the series.

The other big dynamic is in the blue paint. Shesterkin has 2.51 GSAA in the playoffs, while Bobrovsky has actually underperformed relative to expectation with a -0.36 GSAA. Bob only has a .902 SV%, while Shesterkin has a .923 mark.

Panthers vs. Rangers Prediction

The Panthers are certainly deserving favorites in the series, but this price looks a little bit steep and I’d find some value in the Rangers at +130. New York has home ice advantage in the series and Shesterkin has played better than Bobrovsky in the playoffs.

Game 1 has the Panthers -115 and the Rangers -105. If New York wins that game, coming back in on Florida at a plus-money price would make some sense as well, but given that the game is almost a coin flip, I’ll take my chances on the Rangers winning Game 1 and Florida to win the series coming in at a good price.