Florida Panthers vs Washington Capitals
The Panthers finished with 22 more points than Washington, on their way to the best season in their franchises history.
Ovechkin, at age 36, had another 50 goal season, which is incredible. For Florida, Alexander Barkov almost hit 40 goals, while Jon Huberdeau will get some MVP votes for his career year.
All together, the Panthers are a deep team with a ton of offensive skill, and they got even better at the trade deadline when they picked up Claude Giroux.
Florida is the NHL’s second best 5v5 team, they are super deep, and they have performed well above their goaltending (ranked 16th) and are therefore a legit team, and not just a good team over achieving due to a goalie.
Even though Bobrovsky can’t be trusted, the Panthers only need him to be OK, and that’s likely to happen.
The only real chance the Capitals have here is that they take advantage of the weak Florida blue-line and get lucky enough that the Panther’s offense goes cold.
Aaron Ekblad could return for game one, but that remains TBD. He’s missed a quarter of a season, however, so who knows how good he’ll be.
The Panthers have Mackenzie Weeger and Gustav Forsling, who are good. They also have Radko Gudas, Ben Chiarot and Brandon Montour who are all exposable by fast forwards.
Still, this should not be an issue for Florida, their team is far superior and they will win in five games.