NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick & Prediction: Devils vs. Hurricanes Game 1 (Wednesday, May 3)

NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick & Prediction: Devils vs. Hurricanes Game 1 (Wednesday, May 3) article feature image

Rich Graessle/Getty Images. Pictured: Sebastian Aho.

  • The Devils are road underdogs for Game 1 against the Hurricanes.
  • New Jersey is coming off an emotional Game 7 win over the Rangers in the previous round.
  • Tony Sartori breaks down the matchup and makes his Devils vs. Hurricanes pick below.

Devils vs. Hurricanes Odds

Devils Odds+100
Hurricanes Odds-118
Over/Under5.5 (+108 / -132)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

We're making a Hurricanes vs. Devils pick for Game 1 of this NHL Eastern Conference series on Wednesday night.

Carolina has won five of the last seven meetings between these two clubs, controlling this matchup over the past couple of seasons. Will the Canes open this series with a home victory, or can New Jersey pull off the road upset?

Here's a look at the odds, as well as my Devils vs. Hurricanes pick.

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New Jersey Devils

Coming off Monday's emotional 4-0 Game 7 victory over their rivals, the New YorkRangers, the New Jersey Devils attempt to keep the momentum in this opening game of the second round. Fading the Devils in this series is not an indictment on them whatsoever, but rather a backing of how dominant the Hurricanes are.

New Jersey is an elite team all over the ice and should pose a massive threat in this series. Since the Christmas break, at 5-on-5, the Devils rank fifth in the league in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) and ninth in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60).

Backing up this strong two-way team is goaltender Akira Schmid, who completely revitalized this club when he overtook the starting job in the first round. Through five starts in the crease this postseason, Schmid posted a 4-1 record with a stellar .951 save percentage (SV%) and 1.38 goals against average (GAA).

His underlying metrics are also excellent, ranking second among the eight remaining starting goaltenders in the postseason in goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx/60) at 5-on-5. However, the problem is that the one guy ranked in front of Schmid in that key metric happens to be starting across the ice in this series.

Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes finally turned to goaltender Frederik Andersen in Game 6 against the New York Islanders. This decision surely did not disappoint as Andersen stopped 33 of 34 pucks for a dominating .971 SV% en route to Carolina's 2-1 overtime victory.

Andersen's strong play between the pipes could continue against New Jersey, a team he has dominated throughout his career. Through nine career starts against the Devils, he is 7-2 with a terrific .934 SV% and 2.11 GAA.

Making Andersen's job easier is the fact that Carolina is perhaps the best two-way team in the league. Since the Christmas break, at 5-on-5, the Canes rank first in the league in both xGF/60 and xGA/60.

Over that same stretch, they rank four and eight spots higher, respectively, than New Jersey in those two key metrics. Additionally, Carolina possesses the advantage of entering this game on two extra days of rest.

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Devils vs. Hurricanes Pick

As I mentioned earlier, fading the Devils in this series is not an indictment on them, but rather a backing of the Canes' two-way dominance. Carolina is the better team both offensively and defensively, and it also boasts a more seasoned goaltender in Andersen compared to the rookie, Schmid.

PNC Arena is arguably the most intense atmosphere for a road team to travel to, especially during the postseason. With more rest, the better offense, defense, and experienced goaltender, back the Canes to take care of business in Game 1.

Not only am I backing Carolina to win Game 1, but I am also taking them to win the series at +110 via DraftKings.

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