Regardless of your sportsbook of choice, the Florida Panthers are one of the top three betting choices to win the Stanley Cup behind the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Panthers are between +700-800 to win it all (depending on where you go) and have been one of the best stories in the entire league this season.
Florida is atop the Atlantic Division, leading the Lightning by three points and four points back of the league lead behind Colorado.
But are the Panthers getting enough respect?
Coach Andrew Brunette is not so sure.
“We have a whole team that kind of gets lost in the shuffle,” Brunette said after Florida’s 4-3 win in Pittsburgh Tuesday when asked about some of his defensemen not getting enough attention for their play this season.
“Anybody who watches us consistently would know that and it’s unfortunate. We have to earn it. We have to prove to everyone that we are aspiring to not just be good, but to be a great team.”
The Panthers appeared to lose a little bit of their edge after winning three consecutive road games coming out of the extended All-Star break with three straight losses at home to Nashville, Columbus and Edmonton.
But they have been smoking hot since. The Panthers enter tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers at FLA Live Arena winners of their past four games.
Florida snapped that three-game home skid — the Panthers are 25-6-0 in Sunrise — with decisive wins over Ottawa and Detroit before heading back on the road to win in Buffalo and Pittsburgh.
The Panthers will put their four-game winning streak on the line tonight against a Philadelphia team which fell out of contention early on and can be considered one of this season’s biggest flops.
That said, the Flyers have won their past two games against Chicago and Vegas so, don’t expect the Panthers too take them very lightly — not with this being the team’s final home game until March 29.
After tonight, the Panthers fly west for a four-game trip against Los Angeles, San Jose, Vegas and Anaheim then come back to Florida before the NHL Trade Deadline and go right back out for a three-game Canadian swing with stops in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa.
Speaking of the Trade Deadline, Florida will get one last in-person look at Flyers captain Claude Giroux, one of the biggest names on the market and a player the Panthers reportedly have serious interest in bringing to their championship-caliber team.
Giroux, who is not expected to be traded until he plays his 1,000th game as a Flyer on March 17, will not come cheaply but would be a tremendous add to a Florida team with high expectations.
Florida is expected to have Sergei Bobrovsky back in net tonight with the Flyers countering with Carter Hart.
— Speaking of the Trade Deadline, Philadelphia center Derrick Brassard could be moved after signing with the Flyers before the season.
Brassard was acquired by the Panthers in 2019 as part of the Nick Bjugstad/Jared McCann deal with the Penguins. Florida then traded him to the Avalanche on Deadline Day — while the team was in Colorado. He was traded just as Florida’s morning skate started.
“I haven’t talked to Chuck (Fletcher, the general manager) or my agent about it yet,” Brassard said per PhillyHockeyNow.com, “so we’ll see.”
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
PHILADELPHIA FLYERS AT FLORIDA PANTHERS
- When: Thursday, 7 p.m.
- Where: FLA Live Arena, Sunrise
- Tickets: CLICK HERE
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM, SiriusXM
- FanDuel odds — Florida favored: Money Line (-335); Puck line (-1.5, -132); Over/Under 6.5 (-140/+112)
- Last season: Did not play
- Season Series — Florida leads 2-0: Florida 4, @Philadelphia 2; Oct. 23; @Florida 2, Philadelphia 1 (OT); Nov. 24
- All-time regular season series: Flyers lead 55-36-5, 7 ties
PROJECTED FLORIDA PANTHERS LINEUP
23 Carter Verhaeghe // 16 Sasha Barkov // 98 Maxim Mamin
11 Jonathan Huberdeau // 9 Sam Bennett // 10 Anthony Duclair
17 Mason Marchment // 27 Eetu Luostarinen // 13 Sam Reinhart
77 Frank Vatrano // 55 Noel Acciari // 70 Patric Hornqvist
52 MacKenzie Weegar // 5 Aaron Ekblad
42 Gus Forsling // 7 Radko Gudas
40 Petteri Lindbohm // 62 Brandon Montour
72 Sergei Bobrovsky
35 Jonas Johansson
Scratched: Lucas Carlsson
Injured: Markus Nutivaara (LTIR), Joe Thornton (IR), Ryan Lomberg (IR), Anton Lundell (LBI)
Loaned to Charlotte: Spencer Knight
PROJECTED PHILADELPHIA FLYERS LINEUP
28 Claude Giroux // 21 Scott Laughton // 11 Travis Konecny
86 Joel Farabee // 19 Derick Brassard // 89 Cam Atkinson
23 Oskar Lindblom // 13 Kevin Hayes // 25 James van Riemsdyk
20 Gerald Mayhew // 38 Patrick Brown // 17 Jack MacEwen
9 Ivan Provorov // 61 Justin Braun
6 Travis Sanheim // 70 Rasmus Ristolainen
3 Keith Yandle // 45 Nick York
79 Carter Hart
35 Martin Jones
Philadelphia Flyers lineup courtesy PhillyHockeyNow.com