NHL Islanders vs Hurricanes Game 1 Betting Preview

Second Consecutive First Round Meeting

The Islanders vs Hurricanes game 1 betting matchup features a rematch of the first round of the 2023 postseason. New York is hoping things go better this year, falling 4-2 last season as Carolina marched their way to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Panthers.

Both teams finished the regular season strong, but Carolina is a hefty -230 favorite for Saturday afternoon’s Game 1. The ‘Canes were a solid 27-10-4 at PNC Arena this year, but the road team picked up two wins during the four game head to head series during the regular season. 62% of the betting public is still taking Carolina.

Why the Islanders Have Value Saturday

This is almost bonus hockey for New York, who went 8-0-1 over the final month of the regular season to pick up 3rd place in the Metropolitan and get an automatic bid to the playoffs. It’s been tough for opponents to get the win in Raleigh this season, but the Islanders did it on December 23rd (5-4) and November 30th (5-4, OT).

The Islanders did lose to Carolina in last year’s postseason, but they’ve got a new coach this year. Patrick Roy took over the team on January 20th and led them to points in 25 of 37 games (20-12-5). The ‘Canes should have a new attitude this time around.

It will likely be Semyon Varlamov in net for New York in game 1 because he has the hot hand. Varlamov went 5-0 in April and has held opponents to five total goals in his last four starts.

Why the Hurricanes Have Value Saturday

Carolina has experience going deep into the playoffs after last year’s run to the conference finals that ultimately ended in getting swept by Florida. Not only is this club seasoned, they’ve also retooled a bit by adding Jake Guentzel at the trade deadline.

Guentzel has been as advertised for the ‘Canes, tallying 25 points in 17 games. He’s also taken some pressure of teammate Sebastian Aho which has allowed him to shine as well with 21 points since Guentzel joined the team.

The Islanders are surging toward the postseason, but so is Carolina. Aside from a 6-3 loss to Columbus on Tuesday when a majority of the top lines rested, the Hurricanes went 7-1 over their last 8 games.

Free Islanders vs Hurricanes Game 1 Betting Pick

It’s hard to beat Carolina at home, but the -230 price tag is too much to pay for what should be a fairly competitive game. Varlamov has been good in net for New York down the stretch, and Carolina held opponents to 2 goals or less in 7 of their last 9 making the total the best way to play this.

Free Pick: Under 5.5

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