Lightning vs. Panthers Game 1 Prediction: Stanley Cup Playoffs Odds

Daniel Coyle | Updated Apr 20, 2024

NHL: Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning

The Battle of the Sunshine State will be rekindled in the NHL playoffs for the third time in four years when the Florida Panthers host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday afternoon in Game 1 of their Atlantic Division first round series at Amerant Bank Arena.

Tampa Bay
April 21, 2024, 12:30 PM ET
BB&T Center
Puckline +1.5 -165
Moneyline +150
Over / Under o +6
Puckline -1.5 +140
Moneyline -185
Over / Under u +6

The Panthers enter the postseason as the top seed in the Atlantic after closing out their schedule with four straight wins, and will be looking to take the next step after reaching the Stanley Cup Final last year. Fourth-place finishers in the Atlantic, the Lightning claimed the top wild card in the Eastern Conference, but have work to do after closing out their schedule with four losses in their final six regular season contests.

The Panthers have emerged as -175 favourites on the NHL Game 1 odds. And in addition to leading the way as -200 chalk on the NHL series prices, the Panthers trail only the Carolina Hurricanes as a +700 wager on the Stanley Cup odds. The Lightning trail as +145 underdogs on the Sunday NHL odds, and are +165 longshots to pull off the upset in this series.

Lightning vs. Panthers NHL Betting Odds

The Lightning made short work of Florida when these two teams last faced in the postseason, sweeping the Panthers in four games in the second round two years ago. However, the Panthers have since rebounded in head-to-head action, winning four of five clashes since December 2022 while limiting the Bolts to two or fewer goals in each of those victories. The Panthers also compiled the best home record in the Atlantic this season, but streakiness remains a concern. The club has surrendered just six total goals during their current five-game win streak on home ice. However, that surge comes on the heels of the second of two four-game home losing streaks that this team has endured since mid-January.

While the Lightning’s late-season swoon is cause for concern, this club has a reputation for starting strong in the postseason, claiming victory in Game 1 of the first round in five of their past seven appearances. However, recent power outages have been a concern. The Bolts have scored just two goals in three of four outings. Overall, they have potted just two total goals after 40 minutes and have also been outshot three times over that stretch.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Nikita Kucherov deserves enormous credit for whatever success this team has enjoyed this season. Kucherov has placed himself at the centre of the Hart Trophy conversation while piling up 44 goals and 100 assists this season and has picked up a point on 18 of the team’s 34 goals over the past nine games. At the other end of the ice, Andrei Vasilevskiy’s return following an early-season injury proved to be a turning point for this team. Despite the late start to his campaign, Vasilevskiy reached the 30-win mark for a seventh straight season, but has struggled so far in April, going 2-4-0 in six outings, and has surrendered 15 total goals while compiling a dismal .867 save percentage.

Florida Panthers

A year ago, goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky came off the bench in relief of beleaguered starter Alex Lyon midway through the Panthers’ first round matchup with Boston, and turned in a spectacular performance that was arguably the biggest reason why this team reached the Stanley Cup Final. Bobrovsky looks poised to turn in a repeat performance after posting shutouts in two of his final regular season starts, with the lone concern being his current three-game losing streak when facing more than 30 shots. Up front, Matthew Tkachuk was the hero of last season’s deep run, and the feisty winger enters the postseason on a roll after scoring three times and tallying nine points in six April appearances. The Panthers have also received some good news, with veteran rearguard Aaron Ekblad expected to return to the lineup. However, the status of Oliver Ekman-Larsson remains questionable.

NHL Prediction: Who Will Win Lightning vs. Panthers Game 1?

NHL Predictions