The Carolina Hurricanes will look to take a 2-0 series lead over the New Jersey Devils in their conference semifinal showdown on Friday night. Carolina dominated New Jersey in Game 1 on Wednesday, trouncing the Devils 5-1 in a game where the Hurricanes scored the first three goals before their opponent found an answer. The defense was superb for Carolina as New Jersey had just 18 shots on net, and Frederik Andersen was able to turn away 17 of those chances. For the Devils to even the series, they will need to find a way to put more pressure on Andersen and score some goals.
NHL Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook
New Jersey Devils ML (-106) at Carolina Hurricanes
There weren’t any power play goals in Game 1 of this series. Carolina had three power play opportunities and New Jersey had two power play opportunities, yet neither team was able to capitalize on their chances with the man advantage.
New Jersey star center Jack Hughes failed to record a point and finished with a plus/minus of -3 in the loss. Hughes was the team’s best offensive weapon in the regular season as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft had 43 goals and 56 assists for a total of 99 points. He will need to get on track with the rest of his team in order for the Devils to even the series before the venue shifts from the Carolinas to the northeast.
Along those lines, it was clear that the Devils were flat after a grueling seven-game series against the New York Rangers. New Jersey looked a bit slow and tired in its first game against Carolina, and that led to the Hurricanes running Round 1 hero Akira Schmid. We saw Schmid shine in four games against the Rangers, but he lasted a little more than one period against Carolina. Vitek Vanecek came on in relief after he was awful in the New York series, and it’s anyone’s guess who will start in net in Game 2 of this series.
Carolina prioritized fresh legs after taking an early lead in this game as no forward had more than 18 minutes of ice time. That’s good news going forward since we haven’t seen anyone really score outside of Sebastian Aho, and it should guarantee that he has fresh legs in Game 2. Brent Burns led the Hurricanes in ice time with a bit over 23 minutes of action and finished with a plus/minus of +3 without registering a point.
Long-time third line center Jordan Staal showed why he is at his best in the postseason once more. Staal recorded two assists for Carolina in Game 1 while also finishing with a plus/minus of +3. He is the type of player that thrives in the playoffs because of his defensive prowess and backchecking, so New Jersey will look to find an answer for Staal in Game 2.
Under 5.5 in New Jersey at Carolina (-136)
The best bet in Game 2 is for there to be fewer than six goals scored in this game by the NHL betting odds. These two teams combined for just 41 shots in Game 1, and neither squad has a ton of weapons on offense. New Jersey and Carolina both like to emphasize defense, so it’s unlikely the Devils have another poor effort in net too.
Additionally, neither team has a good power play unit. Carolina has converted on 17.9% of its power play opportunities in the playoffs to this point and only lit the lamp on 19.8% of its chances in the regular season. As for New Jersey, the Devils have been even worse on the power play in the postseason. They are scoring on just 15.45% of their chances after converting on under 22% of their man advantage opportunities in the regular season.
These factors make the ‘Under’ a very good bet in Game 2. The oddsmakers agree with the ‘Under’ being the more heavily juiced side per the hockey betting line, and this series will have significantly less scoring than either Florida-Toronto or Vegas-Edmonton.