Hurricanes vs. Islanders Odds & Prediction: Bet Defenses to Step Up
Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ilya Sorokin.
- The New York Islanders host the Carolina Hurricanes in an NHL matchup of elite defenses.
- While the Hurricanes boast an overall strong defensive unit, the Islanders rely on strong goaltending.
- Ryan Dadoun breaks down this game and offers up his best bet below.
Hurricanes vs. Islanders Odds
|Over/Under||5.5 (-125 / +105)|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes have both been winning via strong defensive play and goaltending. At first glance, this seems like a great game to pick the under, but let's take a closer look at the odds.
Carolina has won four of its past five games, but what's truly remarkable is that the Hurricanes have only suffered one regulation loss in their past 11 contests. Even when the Hurricanes have lost, they've at least kept things close, in part because they haven't surrendered a lot of goals.
Carolina has the seventh-best defense with 2.81 goals allowed per game this season, and the Hurricanes aren't showing any signs of decline. In fact, dating back to Nov. 14, they've been slightly better, surrendering an average of just 2.73 goals per game.
That's even with goaltender Frederik Andersen, who hasn't played since Nov. 6, dealing with a lower-body injury. Pyotr Kochetkov was called up in Andersen's absence and has taken advantage of the opportunity, posting a 5-1-4 record, 2.44 GAA and a .914 save percentage.
That said, the Hurricanes aren't solely relying on their goaltending. Their defense has been a key factor in limiting goals. The Hurricanes are allowing just 26.5 shots per game, second only to New Jersey at 26.4. Because of Carolina's strong defense, Antti Raanta has a respectable 2.62 GAA, even with his subpar .894 save percentage, through nine contests.
Without that strong defense, Carolina might have one of the worst records in the league. The Hurricanes certainly haven't gotten to 14-6-6 thanks to their offensive might. Martin Necas, Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov are having strong seasons with 28, 27 and 25 points though 26 games, but Carolina's offensive depth isn't there. The Hurricanes are 25th in scoring with 2.88 goals per game.
If Carolina is to beat the Islanders, it's likely to be in a low-scoring game. However, the Islanders are equally equipped to win that kind of contest.
New York Islanders
The Islanders have allowed just 2.70 goals per game, which ranks fifth in the league. Unlike Carolina, what makes the Islanders so difficult to score against isn't their overall defense. In terms of expected 5v5 goals against, the Islanders actually rank 28th in the league with 62.61, per Moneypuck. By contrast, Carolina is the third-best team at 43.93.
Fortunately for the Islanders, they have amazing goaltenders to make up for their lackluster defense. Ilya Sorokin has been one of the league's top goaltenders with a 10-8-0 record, 2.33 GAA and a .927 save percentage. Semyon Varlamov is also far better than your average backup, posting a 6-3-0 record with a 2.52 GAA and .922 save percentage in nine contests.
Sorokin and Varlamov are the drivers of the Islanders' success, but they have had some help from the forward core. Unlike Carolina, which is near the bottom of the league offensively, the Islanders are 14th with 3.19 goals per game.
Mathew Barzal is having one of the best seasons of his career with three goals and 28 points through 27 contests. Brock Nelson, who set a career high in 2021-22 with 37 goals, is on track to finish in that range again. He's provided 12 goals and 26 points in his first 27 games. Anders Lee is also having a strong campaign with eight goals and 20 points through 27 contests.
Hurricanes vs. Islanders Pick
The Islanders' great goaltending and the Hurricanes' top-tier defense has led to this game having an Over/Under of 6, rather than the 6.5 goals that we've often seen this season. Even still, I like the Under here.
It's not just that these teams don't surrender a ton of goals, they're also not noteworthy offensively. These two combine for an average of just 6.07 goals per game and they're usually playing against opponents who are weaker defensively. When you put them against each other, they are likely to both score less.
The Islanders are also playing the second half of a back-to-back, so their skaters will probably be tired. Varlamov started Friday, so Sorokin will be fresh for Saturday's contest. That combination could further depress the Islanders' scoring without negatively impacting their ability to stop goals.
All-in-all, this seems about as good a time as any to back the Under.
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