Through an interesting turn of events a coach goes up against the team that fired him last year when Pete DeBoer and his New Jersey Devils hook up with the Florida Panthers for an Eastern Conference first-round playoff series starting Friday.
Sportsbook is listing New Jersey as a -120 road favorite for Friday's series opener (7 pm Eastern, NHLN, TSN), with Florida “getting” +100 as the home-ice underdog.
On its NHL futures boards Sportsbook is listing the Devils as -190 faves to win this series, with the Panthers getting +165.
Sportsbook is also offering New Jersey at 10/1 to win the Eastern Conference and 22/1 to win the Stanley Cup, while Florida is getting 20/1 to win the East and 35/1 to take the Cup.
The Panthers are the higher seed in this series, but they tallied eight fewer points on the season than did the Devils. Florida also wound up with a -24 goals differential, easily the worst among all playoff teams, while New Jersey posted a +19 differential.
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The Panthers won the Southeast Division with the sixth-best record in the East, in the process snapping the league's longest playoff drought, making the second season for the first time since 2000. They did struggle a bit late, though, losing eight of their last 10 games.
The Devils finished fourth in the Atlantic Division but still racked up 102 points. And they finished the season on a 12-5 run.
DeBoer coached Florida through three playoff-less seasons, then got canned at the end of last year. This year he led New Jersey to a 21-point improvement over last season.
The Panthers, meanwhile, might be making their first playoff appearance in over a decade, but their roster is dotted with guys who have been there plenty.
These teams split four games this year, each winning once on the other's home ice.
Florida went 21-9-11 at home this year, while New Jersey went 24-15-2 on the road. The Devils also went 24-13-4 at home while the Panthers went 17-17-7 on the road.
New Jersey Devils vs. Florida Panthers odds and props at Sportsbook:
New Jersey Devils (Series Prices) 10/19
Florida Panthers (Series Prices) 33/20
Series Correct Score
New Jersey Devils 4-0 8/1
New Jersey Devils 4-1 9/2
New Jersey Devils 4-2 4/1
New Jersey Devils 4-3 7/2
Florida Panthers 4-0 18/1
Florida Panthers 4-1 15/2
Florida Panthers 4-2 5/1
Florida Panthers 4-3 6/1
Over 5.5 5/9
Under 5.5 3/2
Over/ Under 31.5
Series Game Spread
New Jersey Devils -1.5 20/23
Florida Panthers +1.5 20/23
Ilya Kovalchuk 1st Round Points vs. Florida Panthers
Over/ Under 6.5
Patrik Elias 1st Round Points vs. Florida Panthers
Over/ Under 5.5
Zach Parise 1st Round Points vs. Florida Panthers
Over/ Under 5
Kris Versteeg 1st Round Points vs. New Jersey Devils
Over/ Under 4.5
Tomas Fleischmann 1st Round Points vs. Florida Panthers
Over/ Under 4.5
Stephen Weiss 1st Round Points vs. New Jersey Devils
Over/ Under 4