The Florida Panthers are on the brink of their first playoff series in over a decade and a half, and if they can top the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, April 24th, they will be on to the second round of the postseason.
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It is amazing to think that the Panthers, who won 10 fewer games than the Devils this year, could be taking this series on Tuesday night. Florida has been great in this series, winning three of the last four games and really dominating two of those clashes. Game 5 was the biggest game that this team has had since the 1995 Stanley Cup Finals, as the team posted a 3-0 win that really might get hockey going in South Florida once again. Jose Theodore got back in net in Game 5, posting a shutout, stopping all 30 shots that he faced. He really outplayed Martin Brodeur, and he also fended off the possibility that he could have been put on the bench after a terrible Game 4 in which he was yanked early on. Of course, what also helped Florida over the course of Game 5 was a number of power plays, especially in the second period. In the end, the Panthers only went 1-of-5 on the man advantage, but that one goal proved to be the one that made the difference.
Last season was a bad one for the Devils, as they just never really got going and didn’t get into the postseason. Even this year, being the No. 6 seed and finishing fourth in the Atlantic Division wasn’t really all that great. Of course, we really thought that New Jersey had the best draw in the first round, going against the Panthers, who haven’t been in the playoffs in eons. There have been times in this series in which the Devils have really looked like the dominating team, but there have also been times in which they have looked like they were the lesser team that didn’t want to be here in this spot. This could be the last game for the legend, Martin Brodeur, a surefire first ballot Hall of Famer. He was beaten and beaten badly in Game 5, and now, he gets to play back at home, where it might be the last time that he is introduced to his hometown crowd. Offensively, the Devils have just 13 goals in the last six games against the Panthers, and that isn’t going to cut it when push comes to shove, even if Brodeur plays at his finest.
Florida Panthers @ New Jersey Devils Pick: We just don’t know that the Devils really want to be here at this point. We have a hard time thinking that this could be the end for Brodeur, but we think that that could be the case. Getting +150 on the Panthers is just a bit absurd in our eyes.
Free Hockey Pick: Florida Panthers +150
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.