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Hurricanes vs. Islanders odds, prediction: Back a low-scoring battle in Game 1 of series

The Hurricanes host the Islanders for Game 1 of their playoff series as we share our prediction and best bet.

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 24: Martin Necas #88 of the Carolina Hurricanes reacts following a goal scored during the third period of the game against the Ottawa Senators at PNC Arena on February 24, 2023 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 24: Martin Necas #88 of the Carolina Hurricanes reacts following a goal scored during the third period of the game against the Ottawa Senators at PNC Arena on February 24, 2023 in Raleigh, North Carolina.Read moreJARED C TILTON / Getty Images

Before the puck drops for Monday’s NHL Eastern Conference game one, we’re here to offer a Hurricanes vs. Islanders prediction.

Carolina finished the season as the class of the Metropolitan division, a full 20 points ahead of the Islanders, who bagged the first wild card spot in the East. Entering Monday’s game, the Hurricanes claimed two straight games while the Islanders closed out the campaign by winning three of their final four.

The Hurricanes bossed the head-to-head meetings this season, winning three of four head-to-head meetings with the Isles.

On Monday, the Hurricanes are -175 home favorites with the Islanders priced at +145 on the moneyline. The total is set at 5.5 goals, juiced -135 to the under.

Hurricanes vs. Islanders Prediction + Best Bet

  1. Total Under 5.5 Goals (-135)

Hurricanes vs. Islanders Prediction: Analysis

It should come as no surprise how heavy the under is juiced here when you factor in the overall strength of both defenses and goaltenders.

Beginning with the Islanders, they’ll live and die in this series on the back of goaltender Ilya Sorokin.

Per hockey-reference.com, Sorokin ranks second amongst 74 qualifying net-minders in goals saved above average. Additionally, Sorokin owns a .924 save percentage, the third-best mark in the league, and a 2.34 goals against average, the third-best mark amongst net-minders with at least 40 games played.

In terms of the Islanders’ offensive and defensive metrics, they’re much better on the defensive end. Entering this series, New York ranks 21st in expected goals for at all strengths compared to 16th in expected goals against at all strengths, according to moneypuck.com.

The former metric will likely lead to struggles against an outstanding Carolina defense as well as a top goaltender.

» READ MORE: NHL Stanley Cup playoffs predictions: First-round series best bets

Entering Monday’s game, the Hurricanes rank first in expected goals against both at all strengths and five-on-five. Further, Carolina’s presumed game one starting goaltender - Frederik Anderson - owns a 2.48 goals against average, an average that drops to 2.36 over his last 11 games.

Carolina has also proved a very tough defensive opponent for the Islanders this season. In four head-to-head meetings, the Hurricanes have limited the Islanders to 1.69 expected goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five.

In the most recent meeting, New York created a mere 1.2 xG at five-on-five, 2.09 xG at all strengths and eight high-danger chances, per naturalstattrick.com.

Without contributions to the total from the Islanders, this market will essentially rest on whether Carolina creates a boatload of chances AND converts. While it’s difficult to ignore Carolina’s offensive production against the Islanders this season - 2.68 xG per 60 minutes at five-on-five, 3.71 xG per 60 at all strengths - the quality of Sorokin should lead to a lower tally.

Plus, given the Islanders stay out of the penalty box at an above-average rate - they’re fifth in penalties this season, per statmuse.com - Carolina’s score should look closer to their former average.

Based on those factors, take the under tonight in Raleigh.

Hurricanes vs. Islanders Odds (via BetMGM)

  1. Puck spread: Islanders (+1.5) @ Hurricanes (-1.5)

  2. Moneyline: Nets (+145) @ 76ers (-175)

  3. Total: 5.5 points

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

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