The Las Vegas Golden Knights have taken a commanding 2-0 lead in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They’ve won the first two games of the series at home in convincing fashion. However, the series shifts to Miami for Game 3 on Thursday, giving the Florida Panthers a chance to take back some momentum. Of course, down 2-0, Game 3 is almost a must-win situation from Florida’s perspective.
Back at home, the Panthers are slight favorites in Game 3 with a moneyline of -122 at FanDuel compared to the Golden Knights, who have a moneyline of +102. The FanDuel puck line has Florida winning by 1.5 goals at +198 while Las Vegas +1.5 goals is at -245. The current over/under for the game is 5.5 total goals, although with far more value going to the under. Betting enthusiasts wanting to wager on this game can do so legaly in almost in state accross the country, both online and in-person. Online betting is particularly appealing since it will not require going to physical sportsbook location and various account funding methods such as PayPal, credit cards, wire transfer and Prepaid Cards (such the one offered by FanDuel BetMGM or DraftKings).
Even if the Panthers are a slight favorite for Game 3, it’s impossible not to be impressed with the Golden Knights after the first two games of the series. Florida hung tough with Las Vegas during the first two periods of Game 1. But in the four periods since then, the Golden Knights have outscored the Panthers 10-2. Even the two goals that Florida scored in the third period of Game 2 came when the game was all but out of reach, as the Golden Knights have been utterly dominant. That could set up the possibility of a sweep in this series if the Panthers can’t get their act together in Game 3.
For one of the first times in the playoffs, the Panthers are facing serious adversity and look to have lost some of their confidence. Florida didn’t look as physical or aggressive in Game 2 as the Panthers have showcased throughout the season and the playoffs. Needless to say, the Panthers can’t come out flat in Game 3 and need the home crowd to give them a boost. Florida went 23-13-5 at home during the regular season but is just 4-3 at home during the playoffs. All but one of those four wins came by a single goal, so it’s not as if the Panthers have dominated on home ice.
Florida’s other problem is in the net with a potential goalie controversy ahead of Game 3. Alex Lyon began the playoffs as the team’s goalie. However, Sergei Bobrovsky took over in Game 4 of the first round and has been the net-minder for the Panthers while they’ve made their incredible run. But after Bobrovsky was benched in Game 2, it’s unclear if he’ll start Game 3 and how much slack he’ll be given. Meanwhile, Adin Hill is heating up, allowing just four total goals over his last three games for the Golden Knights.
While it’s undeniable that the Panthers have made a fantastic run during the playoffs, knocking off the Bruins and reaching the Stanley Cup Finals as the no. 8 seed, this could be the end of the line. The Golden Knights have looked like the superior team over the first two games. The core of the team also has the experience of playing in the Stanley Cup Finals for the third time in the last six years. That experience will pay dividends for the Golden Knights, who will avoid a letdown and win Game 3.