Bruins vs. Hurricanes Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Boston in Series Opener

Bruins vs. Hurricanes Betting Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Boston in Series Opener article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: David Pastrnak.

  • The Carolina Hurricanes are favored over the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of their Metro Division playoff series on Monday night.
  • The Hurricanes dominated the Bruins three times in the regular season, but the market price here indicates Boston is the better team. Will we see that play out early on in the series?
  • Tony Sartori breaks down his Bruins vs. Canes preview below.

Bruins vs. Hurricanes Odds

Bruins Odds-105
Hurricanes Odds-115
Series MoneylineCAR -115 / BOS -105
Over/Under5.5 (-121 / +100)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Having clinched the first seed in the Metropolitan Division, the Carolina Hurricanes host the Eastern Conference's first Wild Card seed, the Boston Bruins. The Bruins finished fourth in the Atlantic Division this season but avoid the Panthers in the First Round as they ended up seven points higher than the Capitals for the first Wild Card spot.

Carolina and Boston will kick off the NHL Playoffs with what is expected to be a great game as oddsmakers have priced the game and series near a pick 'em. The Hurricanes have dominated the Bruins this season as they are 3-0 against them with an average winning margin of five goals.

However, all three of those wins were with starting goaltender Frederik Andersen in net. Andersen has already been ruled out for Game 1 and could miss more time, which is a massive blow to the Hurricanes.

Tale of the Tape

This series will be strength against strength as the Hurricanes excel in the offensive zone while the Bruins possess the best blue line in hockey. This season, the Hurricanes rank second in the league in five-on-five Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (xGF) while the Bruins rank first in five-on-five Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes (xGA).

These teams' even ability highlight how important the loss of Andersen is, as the margin for error in this series will be minimal.

StatBoston BruinsCarolina Hurricanes
Goals For per 60 minutes (5-on-5)2.652.97
Goals Against per 60 (5-on-5)2.22.2
Expected Goals per 60 (5-on-5)2.663.1
Expected Goals Against per 60 (5-on-5)2.012.5
High-Danger Scoring Chances per 60 (5-on-5)11.213.9
High-Danger Scoring Chances Allowed per 60 (5-on-5)8.711.1
Power Play %20.9%22%
Penalty Kill %81.5%88%
Save Percentage (projected starting goalie).916.912
Goals Saved Above Expectation (projected starting goalie)-2.92+8.5

Expected Goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.

Simply put, an Expected Goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.

xG numbers and advanced stats cited from Evolving Hockey, MoneyPuck and Natural Stat Trick.

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Can the Carolina Hurricanes Survive Without Andersen?

With the absence of Frederik Andersen in Game 1, the Hurricanes are expected to roll with backup Antti Raanta between the pipes. Raanta really struggled in April as he posted a 0.895 save percentage in seven appearances.

Don't be surprised if Raanta is quickly replaced by rookie Pyotr Kochetkov if he continues to struggle. The drop-off in play between Andersen and Raanta is significant and could be the difference in this series.

Carolina's defense will need to step up big time to help out Raanta/Kochetkov. The Hurricanes rank just 14th in the league this season in five-on-five Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes (xGA). Even if Andersen comes back later in the series, if Boston builds up a one or two-game lead, it could be too little too late.

While Carolina has been a terrific team this season, Andersen's absence for even just two games is what I think will be the reason Boston wins this series. Since the league realigned, and the new playoff format was introduced in 2013-14, the first Wild Card seeds have won seven of their 12 series in this span.

Boston Bruins Enter the Playoffs with Momentum

With the Hurricanes' goaltending issues and their average defensive metrics, their strong offense will have to carry their play — which is exactly what the Bruins want. Boston possesses the best blue line in hockey this year as they rank first in the league in five-on-five Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes (xGA).

The Bruins ended the season on a high note as they won six of their final eight games and will look to keep the momentum going into this first round. Linus Ullmark has been confirmed as the Game 1 starting goaltender for Boston and ended the season in excellent form.

Ullmark ended the year winning nine of his last 10 starts, posting an incredible 0.942 save percentage over that stretch. If Ullmark is even within .020 percentage points of that figure, Carolina will be in trouble this series.

Meanwhile, Boston's offense has improved to end the year as the unit is averaging 3.8 goals scored per game over the last five contests. This season, Boston ranks 11th in the league in five-on-five Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (xGF).

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Bruins vs. Hurricanes Pick

I think even with Andersen in net, Boston would make this a very competitive series. Without Andersen, I think Boston wins this series in six or fewer games.

Expect Boston to take Game 1 on the road against projected starter Raanta. While it's always a tough task to travel into PNC Arena, let alone in a playoff game, this Boston team is full of players with deep playoff experience, and this should not rattle them.

Pick: Boston Bruins ML (+100) | Play up to (-115)

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