The NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are finally here! After the long grind of the 82-game regular season, 16 teams are now left standing in contention for Lord Stanley’s Cup. Action will start on Monday night with the Carolina Hurricanes hosting the New York Islanders at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Over the next few days, we’ll preview each series with a look at each team’s path to victory, picks, predictions, and best bets. Let’s get it started with the Islanders vs. Hurricanes!
New York Islanders vs. Carolina Hurricanes: Series Schedule
Carolina Hurricanes (M1) vs. New York Islanders (WC1)
Mon., April 17: Islanders at Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2, SN360, TVAS2
Wed., April 19: Islanders at Hurricanes, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2, SN360, TVAS22
Fri., April 21: Hurricanes at Islanders, 7 p.m. ET, TBS, SN1, TVAS
Sun., April 23: Hurricanes at Islanders, 1 p.m. ET, TNT, SN360, TVAS
Tue., April 25: Islanders at Hurricanes, TBA
Fri., April 28: Hurricanes at Islanders, TBA
Sun., April 30: Islanders at Hurricanes, TBA
New York Islanders vs. Carolina Hurricanes: Path to victory
New York Islanders
The Islanders will live and die with their goaltending. Ilya Sorokin was one of the best goalies in the league and arguably should be in contention for the Vezina Trophy. New York has a great defensive structure in front of Sorokin and will have Mathew Barzal back for the playoffs.
The Isles will get past the Hurricanes if Sorokin can shut down Carolina’s quantity-over-quality offense with Barzal and deadline-addition Bo Horvat leading the way up front.
The Hurricanes play a very disciplined forechecking system. Head coach Rod Brind’Amour can get the best out of his players, making the team more than the sum of its parts. However, it will be tough to find some scoring with off-season acquisition Max Pacioretty out for the year, along with sniper Andrei Svechnikov.
The Canes will be able to survive the Isles as long as they can stick to their system and get good goaltending in net from Frederik Andersen.
Islanders vs. Hurricanes: Picks, Predictions, & Best Bets
Carolina Hurricanes (-186 via Unibet)
Hurricanes to win Game 1 and win the series (+118 via FanDuel)
The Hurricanes are up to -205 at other books and would still be my pick at those odds, but you can’t pass up Carolina at -186 if you have a Kambi book.
The Canes are the best possession team in the league. They led the NHL in expected goals for percentage at 5-on-5 and were the best team in terms of xGF/60 and xGA/60.
It also seems like Carolina has New York’s number. The Canes went 3-0-1 against the Isles in the regular season, outscoring them 12-9 in four matchups. New York won 6-2 back in November before Carolina took the final three matchups 3-0, 5-2, and 2-1 on April 2nd.
Over 5.5 Games (-165 via BetMGM)
Both teams are more than capable of winning two games in this series. The Islanders are a good home team, and Sorokin should be able to steal a win or two.
Two shutouts in series (+900 via BetMGM)
For our degens out there, this could be a look. Sorokin is more than capable of posting a shutout against a Hurricanes offense that’s lacking a bit. The same can be said for Andersen with New York’s lack of offensive depth.
Follow Ryan Gilbert on Twitter (@RGilbertSOP)