The Florida Panthers may have been the best team in the regular season, winning the President’s Trophy with a franchise-best 58-18-6 record, but the Washington Capitals shouldn’t be so overlooked.
The Caps might technically be the eighth seed in these playoffs, but they did finish with an impressive 100 points.
See who has the betting edge in our NHL picks and predictions for Capitals vs. Panthers on Tuesday, May 3.
Capitals vs Panthers odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
The Panthers opened up as -230 home favorites and the line hasn’t moved by the time of this writing. The total remains at its opening number of 6.5 as of Tuesday morning.
Capitals vs Panthers predictions
Predictions made on 5/3/2022 at 8:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Capitals vs Panthers game info
• Location: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise, FL
• Date: Tuesday, May 3, 2022
• Puck drop: 7:30 p.m. ET
• TV: ESPN2
Capitals vs Panthers series odds
Capitals vs Panthers betting preview
Capitals: Alex Ovechkin F (Probable), Carl Hagelin F (Out), Joe Snively F (Out).
Panthers: Radko Gudas D (Probable), Jonathan Huberdeau F (Probable), Mason Marchment F (Probable), Aaron Ekblad D (Out), Markus Nutivaara D (Out).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.
Capitals vs Panthers head-to-head record in 2021-22
Capitals: 1-1-1 SU, 12 goals for.
Panthers: 2-1-0 SU, 13 goals for.
Betting trend to know
The Panthers average 1.54 goals in the first period on home ice. Find more NHL betting trends for Capitals vs. Panthers.
Capitals vs Panthers picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
The Florida Panthers have been such a run-and-gun offensive team all season long and they have been so good on home ice. The Cats won both of the Florida meetings against Washington, but those wins didn’t come easily as the final score in both clashes was 5-4 — and one came in overtime.
The Panthers were the best offensive team during the NHL regular season, averaging 4.11 goals while also leading the league in chances for, generating 13.36 each contest. Neither team has much of an edge defensively as they are both averaging 2.95 goals against per game, but if there were to be an advantage in goaltending it would go to the Florida Panthers.
Sergei Bobrovsky has been named the starter for the Cats and he had a phenomenal regular season. He went 39-7-3 with a .912 save percentage, a 2.67 GAA, and a fourth-best 23.4 GSAx.
The Panthers might have the best top-six in the entire league and I expect these guys to take over. The Panthers will set the tone right from the opening puck drop and take Game 1 at home.
Prediction: Panthers moneyline (-230 at DraftKings)
The common theme when the Panthers and Capitals clash is that the Over has hit all three of their meetings this season. That being said, Game 1 of a playoff series always has a feeling-out process, so they may try and focus a little bit more on defense now as opposed to when they played each other in the regular season.
Both teams actually come into this game somewhat struggling offensively in their previous five games. The Panthers were resting some players towards the end of the season and only scored 15 goals over their season-closing five games. The Capitals, meanwhile, have struggled a tad more, tallying only seven total goals in their last five.
With Ovechkin missing the past couple of games down the stretch — and it is clear the Capitals need him in order to score — it may take him a game or two to get back into the flow of things, so I can see Washington’s lack of offense continuing. For that, I like the Under in this game.
Prediction: Under 6.5 (-110 at DraftKings)
I will have my attention keyed in on the first 20 minutes. The Panthers always come out of the gate buzzing on home ice and Washington has only scored one goal in the 1st period in its last three games.
The Panthers have been playing a fast-paced, high-flying style all season long and I don’t expect many changes to their game plan. Their focus will be setting the tone for this series early since the Capitals were able to compete with them in the regular season.
I really like the Panthers in the first period and I can see them putting a couple in the back of the net early.
Pick: Panthers first period -0.5 (+110 at DraftKings)
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