NHL Eastern Conference Futures: Which Florida Club Will Rule The East?

  • BetOnline has Florida Panthers (+500) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (+525) as top Eastern Conference contenders early in November
  • The Lightning have dropped to +525 despite a solid start to the 2021-22 NHL season
  • The Panthers have jumped to +500  after starting the season at +900 to win the Eastern Conference this season

The Tampa Bay Lightning, winners of the past two Stanley Cups, were the early pick to represent the Eastern Conference in the 2021-22 Stanley Cup Finals, but a somewhat shaky start to the season (6-3-2) saw the Lightning club lose some of their appeals.

While the Lighting lost ground, another Florida-based club, the Panthers, began the season red hot. The Panthers, who lost to the Lightning in the first round of last year’s playoffs in six games, opened the season on an 8-0 run. The team suffered its first, and to date, the only loss in a shootout with the Boston Bruins on October 30. Florida bounced back from that loss with two straight wins and is currently sitting in first place in the Eastern Conference with an outstanding 10-0-1 record.

The 2021 season ended with the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the Stanley Cup markets in five games over the Montreal Canadiens.

Let’s look at the preseason Western ConferenceEastern Conference, and Stanley Cup Odds and picks. Also, be sure to check out our NHL betting tips page for tips and advice on how to wager on hockey.

2022 Eastern Conference Odds

Can the Panthers stay hot?

The Florida Panthers were a tight-knit group at the start of the season. That bond only increased when Joel Quenneville resigned from his head coaching role in late October. That the team didn’t miss a beat after Quenneville’s departure is telling. The Panthers are focused as a team and are playing for something bigger than individual accolades. Florida won’t be able to sustain the pace they are on, but they are a deep and balanced club that has gelled from the start of the season. The Panthers look poised to make a deep run this season.

Florida Panthers +500 to win the Eastern Conference via Betonline.

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What’s bothering Tampa Bay?

Unlike the Panthers, Tampa Bay is still trying to come together as a cohesive unit. That process took a hit when Nikita Kucherov and Zach Bogosian left the team due to injury. Both players are expected to be out for a significant amount of time. The Lightning has also struggled to get started this season. It took the team until its seventh game to hold a lead. The club had two wins by then, but both those victories came in overtime.

The team is playing well right now, but they have big tests coming up as they face two of the hottest teams in the NHL in their next two games in Florida and Carolina.

Tampa Bay Lightning +525 to win the Eastern Conference via Sportsbetting.

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Watch out for the Hurricanes

A battle between the two hottest teams in the NHL took place on November 6 when the 9-0 Hurricanes faced the 9-0-1 Panthers. Florida prevailed in that game by the score of 5-2, but that loss should not take away from the incredible start the Hurricanes had to the 2021-22 season. The blazing start the Hurricanes had to the season saw them jump from +1200 to win the East at the start of the season to +550 via Betonline. The Hurricanes could take another step forward in the odds when the club faces the Tampa Bay Lightning on November 9. The meeting is the first between the two clubs since the Lightning beat Carolina in the second round of last year’s playoffs. That game is an important one for both clubs.

Carolina Hurricanes +425 to win the Eastern Conference via Bovada.

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Trent Reinsmith

Trent covers UFC and MMA for MTS. He has written for USA Today Sports, Vice, Bloody Elbow, Fight! Magazine, UFC 360, and Narratively among others. He has been involved with MMA since he and some friends threw some money together to purchase the pay-per-view of UFC 1, and the rest is history.

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