Battle of the Boring! Islanders vs Panthers analysis and Prediction.
No offense to either of these teams but stats don't usually lie.......
Both these teams are solid hockey teams but just not too many people like to show up to their games. With both teams being ranked in the bottom three in league attendance. But hey on the positive note, at least both teams will feel like they are playing at home with the fanless games in the bubble.
New York Islanders (7) vs Florida Panthers (10)
Goalless vs Goalieless
The New York Islanders by no means are known for having a high powered offense, as you can see below they had a negative goal differential during the season. Heavily reliant on the first line to score goals the Islanders are more of a hard nose defensive team with probably the hardest hitting 4th line in hockey.
The three linemates combine for 7000 plus hits in their careers... so heads up to the Panthers defenseman.
The Panthers' main advantage comes in the form of their offensive firepower upfront. Huberdeau, Barkov, Dadonov, and Hoffman all have the offensives skills to change a game and will put the Islanders' stingy defense to the test. The Panther defense, on the other hand, is by far their biggest weakness and all the pressure will be put on expensive free agent goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to put his shaky season aside if they are going to have any chance at a cup run.
The Difference Makers
Looking at a player from each team that will decide this series.
The Islanders' reliance on Barzal to creative offense is no secret and his ability to do so will be the main reason for if they win or lose this series. Barzal put up 85 points in his rookie season and looked like an NHL star but then Tavares left in free agency and his point total dropped dramatically to 62 points in his second season. This season he has looked much improved though getting back closer to a point per game pace with 60 points in 68 games this season. For the Islanders to win Barzal must showcase he still has NHL star potential and lead the offensive attack.
3.23 GAA and .900 save percentage, 2019 was Sergei Bobrovsky's worst season since he was a young unknown goalie backing up Ilya Bryzgalov on the Philadephia Flyers.
Now 10 years into his career, Bobrosky is a two-time Vezina Trophy winner and well known as one the better goalies in the world. Even though this year was not one of his best, he has a big opportunity to turn that around with a strong playoff performance. Last year he was amazing in the playoffs for Columbus and a major reason for their upset of the Tampabay lightning. If he is able to regain that form, Florida has a real opportunity to not only win this series but go far in the playoffs.
Prediction and betting Picks
The Islanders come into this series as a slight favourite but its basically a pick'em.
During the season the Panthers were no match for the Islanders defensive and grinding style, as they lost all three games. The only problem with this style of play is if the Panthers are able to score, it is not likely the Islanders will be able to keep up. I expect this to be a super close series but with no one playing games for months look for offensive teams to have an early advantage. Lead by a refreshed and refocused Bobrovsky, look for the Panthers offense to be too much for Islanders to hold off over a five-game series.
Picks: Underdog Panthers over Islanders in 5 games....take the Panthers in five prop bet at +325 if you are feeling extra confident.