New York Islanders vs. Carolina Hurricanes Odds, Preview & Prediction: How to Bet Cup Contenders in Raleigh (October 14)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Ilya Sorokin
- The New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes are both trendy Stanley Cup picks for the new NHL season.
- The Hurricanes (-130) are slight favorites over the Isles in their season opener.
- Greg Liodice previews Thursday's contest, including why road team has value on the moneyline.
Islanders at Hurricanes Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
If you told me 10 years ago that those two words would describe the New York Islanders and the Carolina Hurricanes, I probably would have laughed in your face. Time can change a lot, however, as new faces have taken over the helm for both franchises. Each of the last three Eastern Conference Finals have included either the Isles or Canes.
The Islanders, having just missed the Stanley Cup Finals two years in a row, come in as a trendy pick to win the Cup at +2000. The Hurricanes also have some support at +2200 and are looking to build off a season that saw them finish first in a division with Tampa Bay, Dallas, Florida and Nashville.
The Canes are one of the most explosive teams in the NHL. With an elite young core featuring Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho, Martin Necas and Teuvo Teravainen, the Hurricanes posted a 53.93% expected goal rate (xG%), which was good enough for sixth-best in the NHL and was just a hundredth of a point behind the Isles.
Those numbers suggest the 5-on-5 battle could be quite even, but the Hurricanes likely have the edge if this turns into a special teams game. The Canes had the second-best power play in the NHL at 25.6%, but they did lose the unit’s quarterback, Dougie Hamilton, so a step back wouldn’t be too shocking.
After another step forward, the Hurricanes had themselves a busy offseason. Hamilton, checking-line forward Warren Foegele and all three goaltenders moved on from Raleigh, while the team added Frederik Andersen, Antti Raanta, Ethan Bear, Ian Cole and Tony DeAngelo to replace what it lost on the back-end.
The club also took a calculated gamble by signing Jesperi Kotkaniemi to an offer sheet, adding even more depth to an already stacked forward group.
The goaltending will be what determines where this team goes, as Andersen (who will start on Thursday) is a high-risk/high-reward acquisition. The Dane has had terrific seasons in his past, but he was a bit of a mess in Toronto last season, posting a .895 SV% and -4.8 Goals Save Above Expected (GSAx).
New York Islanders
What a time to be an Islanders fan, huh? The Isles have been an elite team in the NHL for the past three seasons, and they show no signs of slowing down.
And while the previous two seasons saw the Islanders take big steps, last season was even more impressive as the Isles’ underlying metrics matched their results. The Islanders posted the fifth best expected goals rate (53.94%) and third-best high-danger chance rate (56.2%) in the NHL last season, so it was no shock that they made it as far as they did.
The Isles spent the offseason juggling some cap issues, losing Jordan Eberle and Nick Leddy in the process, but the Isles are defined by their “next man up” mentality. The team will also welcome back 30-goal threat Anders Lee, who missed the second half of last season and the entire postseason, and also added Zach Parise to the middle-six. Lee will be a welcome sight for superstar center Mat Barzal, a player who many believe will take a leap this season.
As deep as they are up top, the calling card for the Islanders under Barry Trotz has been their structure, defense and goaltending. Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock have solidified themselves as an elite top pairing and with Noah Dobson, Zdeno Chara, Scott Mayfield and Andy Greene behind them, this team should be able to continue to be a bear to play against.
Trotz is always able to get the best out of his goalies, so the spotlight will be on second-year netminder Ilya Sorokin on Thursday night. Sorokin, who will get the nod ahead of the injured Semyon Varlamov, looked quite strong in his first NHL season and the former KHL dynamo was outrageously good in Round 1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Overall, Sorokin posted a .918 save percentage and a +2.5 GSAx in his first regular season in the States.
One other thing to note about the Islanders is that they were one of the most disciplined teams in the NHL last season. The Isles allowed the second-fewest power play opportunities in 2020/21.
Hurricanes vs. Islanders Pick
When it comes to betting, I often find that good defensive teams can fly under the radar. So, while this matchup is very even overall, I’m happy to back the Islanders.
In addition to their terrific defense, the Isles’ ability to stay out of the box should negate one of Carolina’s biggest advantages in this game. Barry Trotz has got this team off to hot starts in each of his past three seasons, so it will not be a surprise to see them get off and running on Thursday night.
Pick: Islanders -110 or better
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