NHL Stanley Cup Odds and Best Bets: Rangers vs Panthers, Stars vs Oilers

Jordan Ramsay | Updated May 22, 2024

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Vancouver Canucks at Edmonton Oilers

We're down to the final four in the Stanley Cup playoffs and for the first time in NHL history, all four teams in the conference finals are looking to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in at least 25 years.

We’re halfway through the Stanley Cup playoffs, with puck drop for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final between the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers set for Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. The Western Conference Final begins Thursday in Dallas, with the Stars playing host to the Edmonton Oilers.

Let’s take a look at the odds and provides some storylines and best bets for each conference final series.

Eastern Conference Final: Florida Panthers vs. New York Rangers

Regular season edge: FLA, 2-1

This is a heavyweight tilt in the Eastern Conference with the Atlantic Division champion Florida Panthers opening the series as -135 favourites over the Presidents’ Trophy-winning New York Rangers. Both teams have had a lot of rest as Florida hasn’t played since last Friday and New York has been off since Thursday.

After leading the NHL with 114 points in the regular season, the Rangers continued to roll with seven straight wins to start the playoffs. They dominated the Washington Capitals in a first round sweep before dismantling a tough Carolina Hurricanes squad in the second round.

Florida won the Atlantic Division with 110 points as they look to become the first team since the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins to win the Stanley Cup a year after losing in the Final. The Panthers made quick work of state rival Tampa Bay in a five-game first round series then beat Boston for the second year in a row, taking out the Bs in six games in the second round.

Vincent Trocheck and Mika Zibanejad lead New York with 14 points in the playoffs, but look for Artemi Panarin to be the difference-maker in the conference final. After setting career-highs in points (120) and goals (49) during the regular season, the “Breadman” is third on the Rangers with 11 points in the playoffs and all four of his goals are game-winners.

We’re looking at Panarin’s former Columbus teammate, Sergei Bobrovsky, to be Florida’s difference-maker. The two-time Vezina Trophy winner is a finalist again this season after going 36-17-4 with a 2.37 goals-against average, .915 save percentage and six shutouts. Bobrovsky is 8-3 in the playoffs with a 2.37 GAA and .902 SV.

Best series bet: Series to last seven games (+200)

Western Conference Final: Edmonton Oilers vs. Dallas Stars

Regular season edge: DAL, 2-1

The Central Division champion Dallas Stars narrowly missed out on the Presidents’ Trophy by one point and they enter the third round of the playoffs as -125 favourites over the Edmonton Oilers, who finished second in the Pacific Division with 104 points.

Dallas was thrown into the fire right away in the postseason as they faced and defeated the last two Stanley Cup champions. The Stars went the distance against Vegas in the first round, winning Game 7 by one goal. They had another hard-fought series against Colorado in the second round, with former Avalanche forward Matt Duchene scoring the series winner in double overtime of Game 6.

Edmonton continued to terrorize the Kings in a five-game first round win, bouncing L.A. from the opening round of the playoffs for the third straight season. The Oilers had a much tougher second round as they finished the Vancouver Canucks in seven games, with six of those games decided by just one goal.

Dallas’ young guns have stepped up at the biggest times, with Jason Robertson, 24, Wyatt Johnston, 21, and Logan Stankoven, 21, injecting energy and skill to a deep roster. Johnston leads the Stars with seven goals and has 11 points in 13 games. Robertson is second on the team with 12 points (3G, 9A), behind Miro Heiskanen‘s 13 (5G, 8A). Stankoven, who didn’t make his NHL debut until late February, has six points (3G, 3A).

To no one’s surprise, this series will come down to the performance of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who enter the Western Conference Final No. 1 and 2 in postseason scoring. Draisaitl leads the way with 24 points (8G, 16A), including a point in every game, and McDavid is second with 21 points (2G, 19A) in 12 games.

Best series bet: Connor McDavid to record 1+ point in every game of series (+185)