Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview Round 2: CAR - NYI
Much to Don Cherry’s chagrin- a bunch of jerks are now in the second round. Carolina is the final wild card to beat a top seed who just happened to be the Stanley Cup Champion. The Hurricanes may not have done the Storm Surge, but they are a true team firing on all cylinders entering the second round.
The New York Islanders seem to be an afterthought after an exciting first round filled with overtimes and game 7’s. All New York did was sweep the Pittsburgh Penguins and take a mini-vacation as they watch hockey over the next week. The Islanders are well rested and ready to take on an exciting Hurricanes team.
Carolina is a Corsi shots for darling- and they sprayed shots at goal every game against Washington. Eight different players scored two goals or more in round one, led by Warren Foegele, with 4 scores. Sebastian Aho should continue to average over 22 minutes a game as he is the unquestioned leader of the Canes. Dougie Hamilton scored 3 goals from his defensive position and can be counted on to provide needed offense in round 2.
A major question facing the Islanders heading into the playoffs of was their ability to score. New York showed enough firepower to handily knock Pittsburgh out of the playoffs. Jordan Eberle nailed home 4 goals leading the Islanders offense. Mathew Barzal sparkled in round 1, with 5 assists, followed by fellow Valtteri Filppula with 4. The Islanders seemed to score fairly easily against the Penguins in round 1 by spreading chances around the team. They need to keep this up in order to get past Carolina.
Petr Mrazek did good enough to give the Hurricanes a chance to get by Washington. Mrazek displays 2.54 goals against average, but only 89.9% shots saved percentage. His stats are somewhat skewed after the Capitals scored 6 goals in game 5, but Mrazek ended the series with 4 wins to his credit. He will need to play better against the Islanders to give Carolina an opportunity to win the series. His opposition in the Islanders net- is hard to beat.
Robin Lehner continued his dominant play in the first round. Lehner shut down the Pens potent offense to the tune of 1.47 goals per game. The Islanders netminder only allowed 6 goals on 136 shots against to get past him for an amazing 95.6% save percent. Lehner faces a different kind of team in Carolina- he can expect more shots coming at him from every angle imaginable. His continued outstanding play is mandatory for the Islanders to win.
I believe the series goes another 7 games. The analytics love the Carolina Hurricanes based on their stats, but Robin Lehner is hard to beat. The Islanders have had time to prepare and their coach, Barry Trotz, is one of the best in the business. The teams are nearly equal according to my numbers and the Canes are the better betting value in the matchup. I can see a coin flip type game in game 7 that either team can win.
Give me the Islanders in game 7, even though my money goes with Carolina. I know it’s a tough proposition, but check the Deep Dive podcast the guys did with Rob Pizzola for an excellent explanation of betting where there is value.
New York Islanders -120