Round 2 of the NHL playoffs is fully underway, and so far, it’s been just as thrilling as Round 1 was. Just look at last night’s Colorado-Las Vegas game as evidence that the NHL postseason usually gets better as it goes on.
For today’s best bet, I’m going back to the well with a team I recommended last week who cashed: the Carolina Hurricanes.
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Carolina Hurricanes (+140) at Tampa Bay Lightning
Carolina is down 2-0 in the series after dropping the first two tightly-contested games on home ice. But you could argue the Hurricanes should be up 2-0 in this series with the defending champs.
Carolina owns a 56.2% expected goals percentage in the series thus far and was the better team in Game 2. However, the Canes have failed to score a goal at 5-on-5 in this series.
Part of Carolina’s struggles is Tampa Bay has done a great job of limiting high danger scoring opportunities. The Lightning hold a 15-11 advantage in that category. The other reason is Andrei Vasilevskiy. The Vezina Trophy finalist has been spectacular in the series, stopping 68 of 70 shots on goal in the series.
Injuries are also hurting the Hurricanes at the worst time. Carolina will likely be without key forwards Nino Niederreiter and Vincent Trocheck for Game 3, and perhaps even longer. That means Carolina’s lead dogs will have to elevate their play. Sebastian Aho has lit the lamp five times this postseason, but Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov have combined for just three goals and eight points.
Betting against the defending champs on home ice always carries a little risk. But +140 is too good of value to pass up on Carolina. The Hurricanes have played well in the series. They’ve just struggled to convert. And while Vasilevskiy is great, I’m anticipating a bit of regression in the crease and perhaps some puck luck for the visitors.
Thoughts on Bruins-Islanders Game 3
This series has been a blast, and that’s before it arrived at the Nassau Coliseum. With the Isles stealing one in Boston, that arena should be maniacal. However, I suspect the visitors will bounce back and come out on top in Game 3. They’re the deeper team with more top-end talent and have been the better team throughout the series. Plus, New York’s goaltending situation is hard to trust, as Semyon Varlamov was reinserted into the lineup in Game 2.
It’s more a lean, but I’d take the Bruins at anything below -150 on the moneyline.
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