NHL Betting Preview (May 30): Panthers vs. Rangers Game 5 Predictions

Alexis Lafreniere #13 of the New York Rangers scores a first period goal against Sergei Bobrovsky #72 of the Florida Panthers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amerant Bank Arena on May 26, 2024 in Sunrise, Florida.

The NHL’s Eastern Conference Finals are now down to a best-of-three scenario. After a dramatic overtime win from the Florida Panthers, the New York Rangers have a tied series to deal with, but retain home ice to take advantage of. Let’s look at how things can be expected to shake out on Thursday night as the action heads back to Madison Square Garden.

Bet on Panthers vs. Rangers GM 5

FLA -118
NYR +107

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The moneyline favourites are the Panthers, coming in between -118 and -125 on the top Canadian Sportsbooks.

Panthers vs. Rangers Best Odds

Panthers Moneyline Odds-118 @ Betano
Rangers Moneyline Odds+110 @ Pinnacle
Puckline oddsPanthers -1.5 (+225) @ Pinnacle
Rangers +1.5 (-250) @ BetMGM
Series oddsPanthers -140, Rangers +120 @ Bet365
Total Over 5.5 goals (+112) @ NorthStar Bets
Under 5.5 goals (-125) @ Betway
Time/DateMay 30, 8:00 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: CBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports
Stream: Sportsnet+
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)

Last Matchup

Tuesday night was one for feline revenge, as the Panthers restored the deadlock in this series with a tight overtime win. Powerplays were a theme in this game, as the Rangers opened the scoring with a Vincent Trocheck goal, while Anton Lundell sat in the box for a high stick. Sam Bennett tied the game for Florida in the second, and with Barclay Goodrow penalized, Carter Verhaeghe added his own powerplay tally only a few minutes after Bennett’s goal.

Alexis Lafreniere picked up where he left off in Game 3 by tying the game early in the third period, but after an early overtime penalty to Blake Wheeler, it was Sam Reinhart who played the ultimate hero, scoring his eighth of the playoffs on, you guessed it, the powerplay to give Florida the win.

Betting New York Rangers (10-4 SU, 11-3 ATS, 8-6 o/u)

Taking the game-deciding penalty for the Rangers was Blake Wheeler, ruining a potential storybook return for the 37-year-old. The game was Wheeler’s first since suffering an awful leg injury on February 15th, and much of his nine minutes of play was focused on a style that reflected his fourth-line easing in, throwing four hits and blocking two shots. The penalty will be what is remembered by the history books, though, which is a bit unfair.

His hook on Aleksander Barkov was a necessary evil after a bad turnover from Mika Zibanejad, who has had a rough series. After starting the playoffs on an eight-game point streak (3 goals and 10 assists) that had him talked about as an early Conn Smythe Trophy candidate, Zibanejad has struggled mightily, putting up just one assist, 15 shots on goal, and a -3 goal differential since Game 5 against the Hurricanes. The Rangers have had a few players like Igor Shesterkin and Alexis Lafreniere step up in a big way in this series, but they won’t find their extra gear unless their first-line centre gets back to performing like one.

Betting Florida Panthers (10-5 SU, 5-10 ATS, 7-8 o/u)

On Florida’s end, they’re likely pretty happy with Tuesday’s result, as they improved on their already great 5-on-5 play in many ways. Over 50 minutes of even action, the Panthers out-attempted the Rangers 72-29, outshot them 28-13, and more importantly, kept the score even, after having done similar in Game 3 but still getting outscored 4-2.

Standing out in particular was defenceman Aaron Ekblad, who wasn’t leaned into as heavily as he might have been in a similar situation in previous years, but absolutely made the most of his minutes. Florida out-attempted New York 28-3 with him on the ice, outshot them 12-2, and he was on the ice for Bennett’s second-period equalizer. The 28-year-old hasn’t had a huge offensive impact on this run, notching just four assists, but if he can control the flow of play like he did on Tuesday, no one will mind.

Projected Panthers vs. Rangers Lines

Today’s New York Rangers LinesToday’s Florida Panthers Lines
Chris Kreider – Mika Zibanejad – Jack Roslovic
Artemi Panarin – Vincent Trocheck – Alexis Lafreniere
Will Cuylle – Alex Wennberg – Kaapo Kakko
Blake Wheeler – Barclay Goodrow – Matt Rempe

Ryan Lindgren – Adam Fox
K’Andre Miller – Jacob Trouba
Erik Gustafsson – Braden Schneider

Starting In Goal
Igor Shesterkin
PO: 10-3-1, 2.31 GAA, 0.925 SV%
Season: 36-17-2, 2.56 GAA, 0.913 SV%
Carter Verhaeghe – Aleksander Barkov – Sam Reinhart
Matthew Tkachuk – Sam Bennett – Evan Rodrigues
Eetu Luostarinen – Anton Lundell – Vladimir Tarasenko
Steven Lorentz – Kevin Stenlund – Kyle Okposo

Gustav Forsling – Aaron Ekblad
Niko Mikkola – Brandon Montour
Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Dmitry Kulikov

Starting In Goal
Sergei Bobrovsky
PO: 10-3-2, 2.29 GAA, 0.904 SV%
Season: 36-17-4, 2.37 GAA, 0.915 SV%

Right now, we’re not protecting any lineup changes for either team, but this can obviously change in the coming hours or even in the moments before puck drop. The fog of war is rampant in playoff hockey and this series is no exception.

Alexis Lafreniere to score a goal


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Panthers vs. Rangers Injury Concerns

Both teams are fairly close to healthy at this point. Jimmy Vesey is the one remaining player on the IR, week-to-week with an upper-body injury.

  • The Rangers have a 6-4 edge over the Panthers over the last ten games between the two teams, dating back to January 2023. New York’s advantage grows to 7-3 against the puckline, and the total goals over has been cleared seven times.
  • New York is 6-4 in their last ten games, with an 8-2 record against the puckline. The total goals line has been split down the middle along that stretch, with five overs and five unders.
  • Florida is also 6-4 over their last ten, with a near-opposite 3-7 record against the puckline. Against the total goals line, they’ve had four overs and six unders in their last ten games.
  • Aleksander Barkov leads the Panthers in points over their last ten games, with twelve. He shares the lead for assists with Matthew Tkachuk, notching eight.
  • Sam Reinhart leads Florida in goals over their last ten games, with five. He shares the shots on goal lead with Carter Verhaeghe – both have 37 over that stretch.
  • Vincent Trocheck leads the way for the Rangers with thirteen points in their last ten games, with five goals and eight assists. He also has a team-co-leading 32 shots on goal.
  • Trochek’s co-leader in shots is Alexis Lafreniere, who has been molten-hot on his shots. His seven goals lead the Rangers over their last ten. Artemi Panarin has the team lead in assists, with nine.

Panthers vs. Rangers Predictions

  • There will be a lot of hype around Alexis Lafreniere’s last two games, with hopes that his stick stays hot. Your best value if you think he can score for a third game in a row is +300 at FanDuel. As good as he’s been, the safer money is on the under, but the books are definitely playing this one safe, as -370 on theScore Bet is the best you’ll find. Personally, I might be more open to over 0.5 points, which you can find at -110 on Sports Interaction.
  • Carter Verhaeghe hit the shot prop we called for in Game 4, and we will go back to that well. His four shots on goal on Tuesday came from ten shot attempts, so his fire-at-will mentality doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. Your best price to get him over 3.5 is on bet365, at +110.
  • With four points in his last two games and dominant two-way play, it’s hard not to look at Aleksander Barkov and expect an encore tonight. I’d look to him to get a point, currently listed at -180 on DraftKings. If you think he might have a little more, BetVictor has a line of 1.0, giving you a chance to get a better price of +125 with some push protection.

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