Both Carolina and New York were good enough to win on Friday as the first and only goal came 4 minutes into OT. Ultimately it was the Hurricanes that netted the score and took a 1-0 series lead at the Barclays Center. Carolina cashed out at +125 in that game and faces a very similar +120 line in the April 28th NHL playoffs free pick. Oddsmakers are expecting the Islanders to bounce back, making them -141 home favorites.
Can Carolina Get a Repeat Goaltending Performance Sunday?
The biggest boost that the Hurricanes received in Game 1 was the goaltending of Petr Mrazek, who guided his 2nd shut out of the playoffs. Mrazek stopped all 31 Islanders shots that he faced but the big question ahead of the April 28th NHL playoffs free pick is if he can duplicate that effort? Mrazek had an up-and-down 1st round of the playoffs, especially on the road where he allowed 16 goals in four games vs. Washington. The netminder at least has confidence heading into Game 2.
The Carolina offense also wasn’t great in Game 1, but they were good enough. Jordan Staal sank the game winner in OT to get past a very stingy Islanders defense that was tops in the league in goals allowed per game (2.3). The Hurricanes skaters could be pardoned a bit, as they were playing just two nights after an emotional 4-3 Game 7 OT series clincher in Washington. Teuvo Teravainen has goals in 3 of the last 5 of the postseason and Sebastian Aho had a point in 5 of 7 vs. Washington so the ‘Canes do have some offensive weapons to get to NYI on Sunday.
Islanders Get Back in the Groove in Game Two
New York may have been a victim of their own success in Game 1 on Friday. The Islanders swept Pittsburgh in Round 1 and thus hadn’t played a game in 10 days before kicking off their series with Carolina. The rink rust showed too as Carolina was held without a goal for the first time since March 26th. The Islanders scored at least 3 goals in all four games vs. Pittsburgh. Jordan Eberle should have a bounce back game as he scored in all four vs. the Penguins. Josh Bailey also had 3 goals in Round 1 as did Brock Nelson so the Islanders could be potent in this one.
The positive thing about the Islanders’ chances in Game 2 is that they don’t need a whole lot of goals to get the win. Since giving up 3 to Pittsburgh in Game 1 of round 1, Robin Lehner has gone four straight games surrendering just 1 goal in each. There’s no reason to think that impressive run doesn’t continue on Sunday.
April 28th NHL Playoffs Free Pick Betting
The Islanders had some obvious mental rust in Friday’s game, mostly attributed to having had the previous 9 days off after the Round 1 sweep. Carolina’s win hopefully woke up the sleep giants and the New York offense is going to be much better in Game 2 – it has to be. The Panthers may be content in stealing home ice and heading back to Carolina for two and this one has a good chance of getting away from them.
NHL Playoffs Free Pick: New York Islanders PL -1.5 (+187)