The NHL Playoffs started off on Monday, and while the Eastern Conference went as expected, that wasn’t the case in the Western Conference. The Boston Bruins had no trouble with the Florida Panthers in Game 1, and the Carolina Hurricanes held on for a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders thanks to two power play goals.
However, both underdogs per the NHL betting odds won in the Western Conference. The Minnesota Wild weren’t much of an underdog against the Dallas Stars, but they ended up prevailing in double overtime. The Los Angeles Kings pulled off the big upset, knocking off the Edmonton Oilers in OT after scoring three third period goals (the last of which came with 17 seconds left) to tie the game. Edmonton’s maligned defense will need to shake off that performance to avoid an 0-2 start.
NHL Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook
New York Islanders at Carolina Hurricanes
New York Islanders ML (+150), +1.5 (-190)
Carolina Hurricanes ML (-177), -1.5 (+155)
Total 5.5 (Over +120, Under -140)
Although the New York Islanders lost Game 1 in this series, they performed well enough that I still like them to win Game 2 and eventually go on to beat the Carolina Hurricanes to advance to the next round. Ilya Sorokin was fantastic in net and didn’t give up an even strength goal on Monday night. The forwards came back to help on defense, and the Isles are going to be able to muck up this series and make it very low scoring.
This is the kind of series that Carolina will struggle to win as the Hurricanes only have two main goal scoring threats in Sebastian Aho and Martin Necas. Aho scored the first goal of the series and Necas and Brent Burns assisted on both power play goals for the Canes.
The Isles have a handful of gritty goal scorers that will be able to rise to the occasion on Wednesday night. Bo Horvat will get his first postseason points, and we will see Zach Parise and Mathew Barzal play well too. Sorokin will show why he is one of the best goaltenders in the league too, and that will lead to the series being tied at 1-1 before it heads to Long Island.
Los Angeles Kings at Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers ML (-200), -1.5 (+130)
Los Angeles Kings ML (+170), +1.5 (-155)
Total 6.5 (Over -113, Under 105)
It seemed like the Edmonton Oilers may have had their breakthrough last season. They won two series to get to the Western Conference Finals before being eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champions. Edmonton currently has the third-lowest Stanley Cup betting odds behind Boston and Colorado, but the Oilers can’t afford to go down 0-2 before hitting the road.
Leon Draisaitl was great in Game 1 for the Oilers, lighting the lamp twice. It looked like he would be the top performer of the game, but the Kings rallied to force overtime and win.
Edmonton needs Art Ross Trophy winner and probable Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid to make his presence felt though. McDavid led the NHL in scoring and became the first player in almost 30 years to finish with over 150 points this season. However, he failed to register a point on five shots on Monday night and finished with a plus/ minus of -2. McDavid had a point on 47.1% of Edmonton’s goals, so this offense can’t afford many shutouts from him.
The Kings traded for Joonas Korpisalo just before the trade deadline, and he looks set to be LA’s No. 1 goaltender throughout the playoffs. Korpisalo stopped 37 of the Oilers’ 40 shots in Game 1, but he looked shaky in net at times. We saw him overreact and leave his crease a little too often, and that’s something that Edmonton should be able to take advantage of going forward.
The Over might be a solid bet too in Game 2, but my favorite wager is Edmonton -1.5 on Wednesday night. The Oilers will roar back after blowing a lead in Game 1 to make sure the series is tied 1-1 on their way to Los Angeles.