This is going to be an interesting one that will be determined, in my opinion, by one mans play. Sergei Bobrovsky.. ok I get it that obviously there’s a lot more than one player that’s going to effect this series. However, Bobrovskys play will have a huge huge determination on who wins this.
The Panthers are a solid team. Barkov, and Huberdeau are both excellent players, combining for 844 Career points, however have combined for 6 points in 12 games of playoff hockey experience(first round bounce in 2016). Now round out the rest of that Panthers roster with a few guys with some solid playoff experience in Mike Hoffman, Noel Acciari, Eric Haula, Brian Boyle, Keith Yandle, Anton Strallman & my favorite Stanley Cup Champion Brent Connolly (380 combined playoff games amongst these players). Throw a hot Sergei Bobrovsky in their and this team could be dangerous! Side note, they are the most experienced in playing in empty arenas…
The New York Islanders, coached by former Stanley Cup Champion Barry Trotz is another team that could be dangerous if they win this one. The islanders have shown regular season success with their 35-23-10 record. They have shown us playoff success with their sweep of the Pens last year, despite going on to get swept by a hot Canes team.
What’s the new ingredient for the Islanders this year? They have a solid well rounded team. Lead by Captain Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, & my Favorite Shifty Nifty Matt Barzal! However they really don’t have all that much playoff experience. Derrick Bassard, (100 playoff games), Johnny Boychuck (101 playoff games, & 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Nick Leddy (80 playoff games). Besides these 3 you really don’t have that much experience in Playoffs, you have veterans in guys like Jordan Eberle, but he’s played 21 playoff games.
The key ingredient for this teams success: Sermon Varlamov
This guy can be an unreal goalie! Could he be the bump this Islanders team needs? I think there’s potential if he does well just because this team is well rounded, and hungry.
Grose’s Pick: Florida Panthers -105 1.5u
I like this team, I like the well rounded roster & I see Bobrovsky as more likely to preform. On top of that it’s better value here for the Panthers at even money!
Series Correct score pick: Panthers (3-1) +350 (.25u) just to make a pick really and have some fun with it as this is a tough one to decide.
AB’s Pick: The Isles/Panthers series is another series that could really go either way. One crucial player goes down with COVID and that could swing the whole series the other way. The Islanders and Barry are a team of preparation and you damn well know they will be prepared and know all the ins and outs of this Panthers team. The Panthers have a very low key talented roster as well with one of the greatest coaches in the game as well. Signing Bobrovsky this year made everyone think they’d be serious contenders, however, he clearly has not lived up to his contract this year (which some are saying might be the defense in front of him). I haven’t been watching too closely this year to the Panthers this even after I was all over them in my preseason predictions, but either way, their defense or their goaltending needs to pick their shit up if they want to win this series against the most disciplined team in the league. I’ve got Barzal and the Islanders winning this one in 5. Lay down the Islanders at -115 and maybe even the series to go five games at +135. If you wanna get REAL crazy, Islanders in 5 is at +350 for all the money, that’d be a nice payout to hit all 3.
Coach’s Pick: I feel like this series is such a pick em. On tomorrows pod, I pick the Panthers to win this series, but will I lean the other way on here? My gambling brain is different than my normal brain, by that I mean way dumber. It’s Stanley Cup Champion Barry Trotz vs Stanley Cup Champion Brett Connolly, two legends. Trotz and Coach Q are a great matchup I think, as one lets the boys play, and one is structured and sticks to the plan. don’t be shocked to see a real defensive series from the Islanders, and they get the luxury return of both Boychuk and Cizikas. The Panthers got swept in the season series 3 rip, and just couldn’t get it clickin’ to the level they were projected this season it seems. I’m taking Islanders -115 , and in 5 games at +350. Lets ride