Hurricanes, Islanders to meet in first round for second straight playoffs

Islanders vs Hurricanes Odds: Eastern Conference First Round Series

The Carolina Hurricanes will start their Stanley Cup Playoff road against a familiar foe, the New York Islanders, in the Eastern Conference First Round. Here are the Islanders vs Hurricanes odds for the first-round series.

Carolina dispatched New York in six games last spring, a series where the Canes only outscored the Isles 16-15. Four games were decided by one goal, and two were settled in overtime, including the series clincher at UBS Arena.

The team names may be the same, but the casts will be a bit different, especially in goal for each team, at least to start.

Islanders logo Islanders vs Hurricanes Hurricanes logo

Location: PNC Arena
Day/Time:

The Hunter vs The Hunted

Carolina may have finished second in the Metropolitan Division, but it will open the playoffs as the betting favorite to win the Stanley Cup at every mainstream sportsbook at +650.

The Hurricanes have been on the short list of betting favorites entering the postseason in each of the past four seasons. They are a heavy favorite given their -340 series odds, which carries a 77.3 implied probability.

But the Hurricanes offense has kept them from even reaching the Stanley Cup Final. That’s why general manager Don Waddell upgraded Carolina’s forward group to include Stanley Cup winners Evgeny Kuznetsov and Jake Guentzel. Each has been a significant offensive contributor to a Stanley Cup champion before.

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But the Islanders always play a stingy, defensively tight game, and New York will enter the postseason on fire. The Isles are 10-2-1 in their past 13 games with 30 goals allowed (2.30), which fits the style of mercurial ex-superstar goalie turned coach Patrick Roy, who was some NHL records to his name.

New York’s reputation is to sit back then counterpunch, but it does have some offensive punch, unlike years past. The Isles are 22nd in the league in goals per game (2.99) but are scoring 3.26 per game in 34 games under Roy, who took over for Lane Lambert in January.

They also feature three 30-plus-goal scorers, Brock Nelson, Bo Horvat and Kyle Palmieri. They also had 10 NHL players score double-digit goals this season, including No. 1 defenseman and power-play quarterback Noah Dobson.

Surprises in goal

Roy has once again gotten the most out of Semyon Varlamov, the Isles backup goalie who finished second in Vezina Trophy voting when they were together in Colorado in 2013-14.

Despite the presence of Ilya Sorokin, widely considered one of the best netminders on Earth, Roy is likely to ride the hot hand in Varlamov, who is 8-1-1 with a .930 save percentage in his past 10 games, for Game 1, which is definitely a feather in their cap for the Islanders vs Hurricanes odds. 

If Varlamov falters, Roy always has the option to go back to Sorokin, last year’s Vezina runner-up, who had a disappointing season (25-19-12, .908 sv%, 3.08 GAA, 1.4 GSAA). With extra rest, Sorokin could be especially dangerous since he posted a .924 save percentage and 2.60 goals-against average against the Canes last season.

Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour is also likely to go with his hot hand in goal in veteran Frederik Andersen, who was limited to just 16 starts due to a blood-clotting issue. But Andersen may need to toggle with Pyotr Kochetkov, who had led Carolina with 42 starts during the season.

Brind’Amour has not named a starter for Game 1, leaving the decision a surprise for bettors and fans alike. He shocked the hockey world by starting Antti Raanta for the first five games of the Islanders series before going back to Andersen for the final nine playoff games, including the first-round clincher.

Andersen, who was 13-2-0 with a .932 save percentage and 1.84 GAA during the regular season, has a 32-26 record and a .917 save percentage and 2.44 GAA in 62 career NHL playoff games. He went 5-3 with a 1.83 GAA and .927 save percentage for Carolina in the playoffs last year.

Holding Leads

If you prefer to bet games live, this is the series for you. Carolina had a plus-20 third-period goal differential, scored the eighth-most third-period goals, and allowed the ninth-fewest third-period goals.

Conversely, the Islanders surrendered the second-fewest first-period goals but had a minus-34 goal differential after the initial 20 minutes. Their 107-83 second-period differential is by far the worst of any period of any playoff team.

New York has cleaned some of the blown leads over its season-closing hot stretch. But the Canes tend to overwhelm teams with their swarming forecheck, and the home crowd at PNC Arena feeds off that.

Road Woes

The Hurricanes are one of the NHL’s best road teams. They won 25 away games, which was tied for third most, and were tied for the sixth-best points percentage in away games this season (.646), which certainly helps their odds to win the Stanley Cup.

Yet, Carolina will have to shake its struggles away from Raleighwood if it is going to go deep this playoff year. The Canes have won just three away games in the past two postseasons, a stunning about-face for a team that is tied for the second-most wins (74) in that span.

Carolina won two games at UBS Arena in its first-round series a season ago, so maybe the confines will be a little more friendly on Long Island than elsewhere. But that trend will be worth keeping an eye on if the Isles, who were just 18-23 on the road but went 21-20 at UBS Arena, can steal one of the first two in Raleigh.

Islanders vs Hurricanes Prediction

Our official prediction on the Islanders vs. Hurricane odds is that Carolina will win in six games, just like last year.

Islanders vs Hurricanes Betting Lines

For NHL picks, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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