This article is part of our NHL Picks series.
NHL Bets for April 21: Expert NHL Picks and Props for Hurricanes vs. Islanders
The Carolina Hurricanes hold a commanding 2-0 lead over the New York Islanders their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals matchup, as the series shifts to UBS Arena in Elmont, N.Y. on Friday.
The Canes posted a couple of one-goal victories at PNC in Raleigh in the first two installments in this series, winning 2-1 in Game 1 thanks to a pair of power-play goals, while outlasting the Isles 4-3 in OT in Game 2.
Carolina started fast, and ended 'Fast'er. Paul Stastny got the party started with a goal at 5:49 of the first period, sending the fans into euphoria. Stefan Noesen was credited with a power-play goal in the second period at 7:19, although it was actually an own goal on the 'other' Sebastian Aho.
I arrived at Invisalign Arena, the practice facility of the Canes, for my game with Ice Aged Hockey Club for the start of the third period. It was maddening trying to watch the game, and get dressed. It was worse when Brock Nelson scored at 9:18, giving the Isles their first lead of the series.
Jaccob Slavin returned the favor at 12:19 of the third, and the game went to overtime. I was trying to sneak peeks of the TV through the window, and unsurprisingly we were hemmed in our own zone by the first-place Micro Dekes all night, so I had plenty of opportunity to see the tube unfortunately. We "Leafed" hard last night, but that's another story.
Anyway, I didn't see it, but heard from the referee that Jesper Fast scored the game-winning goal in OT at 5:03, and captain Jordan Staal earned his first point of the series with an assist, while Brent Burns had a secondary apple with his second helper of the night, and fourth assist of the series.
Both of the games were super tight, and Ilya Sorokin did a pretty decent job for the Islanders. He allowed four goals on 36 shots, including the unfortunate own goal, while Antti Raanta kicked aside 23 of the 26 shots he faced. We're all but certain to see the same goaltender setup in Game 3.
The games in Raleigh were close, and it isn't just wishful thinking since I have tickets to Game 5 at PNC Arena, but I think the Islanders get over the hump in Game 3 in front of the home fans.
Remember, the Hurricanes had tremendous struggles on the road last postseason. In fact, they were 0-for-6 in the playoffs away from home, which is a reason they were golfing after Round 2. I am thinking we'll see a split at UBS, with the Isles making a series of it with a Game 3 victory.
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NHL Puck Line Bets for Hurricanes vs. Islanders
- Islanders ML (-115 at BetMGM)
The Under cashed in Game 1, while the Over connected in Game 2. Surprisingly, the power play has been somewhat effective for the Hurricanes, as they had three PPGs in the first two games at home. In Game 2, Carolina also had a pair of high-sticking double minors, and they were unable to take advantage. Well, one of them came off the stick of an Islanders player, so technically they weren't blanked.
The Islanders were 0-for-4 on the PP in Game 1, and 0-for-1 in Game 2. New York was 30th on the power play in the regular season at just 15.8%, while killing penalties at an 82.2% clip, good for No. 9 in the NHL. So we've seen this before, and it has led to many Under results. Game 3 should be no different.
The Under is 5-2 in the past seven on the road for Carolina, too, while going 12-5-1 in the past 18 games following a victory. Of course, that didn't happen last time out, as the Over cashed in Game 2 after the Game 1 win.
The Islanders have hit the Under at a 3-1-1 clip in the past five in the Conference Quarterfinals round, although, again, Game 2 went high on the total. Still, I think we get a defensive slog at UBS, with the Islanders pulling out a win similar to the Game 1 victory by the Hurricanes.
NHL Totals Bets for Hurricanes vs. Islanders
- Under 5.5 (-139 at BetRivers)
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NHL Player Props for Hurricanes vs. Islanders
For Game 3, the NHL player props might be a little bit tricky. I think this is going to be more of a defensive battle than we saw last time out. Still, there is money to be made.
For the home side, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Anders Lee was plus-money to notch just one single point. While, yes, he was blanked in the first two games with six shots on goal, he is an offensive force, especially at home. This is a guy who posted 28 goals and 50 points, with 14 goals and 29 points coming in 41 regular-season home games. He will get on the board in Game 3. I'd go at this one rather aggressively.
- Anders Lee Over 0.5 Points (+110 at BetMGM)
For the visitors, Seth Jarvis picked up a helper with a plus-2 rating with one single shot in Game 2 after getting blanked in the series opener. Like Lee above, Jarvo is a value at plus-money to record a single point. Carolina won't have many goals in Game 3, but when they do score, No. 24 will factor in.
- Seth Jarvis Over 0.5 Points (+105 at BetMGM)
In addition, for the second consecutive game, I like a third 'bonus' player prop. Veteran rearguard Brent Burns has been on fire, pardon the pun, in the first two games in this series. He has a pair of assists in each of the first two games, while posting a plus-2 rating and 10 shots on goal. He is plus-money to record four or more shots in Game 3. He has been taking plenty of shots from the point, and really appears to be relishing his return to the postseason. Take advantage.
- Brent Burns Over 3.5 SOG (+115 at BetMGM)