The New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes meet Thursday in NHL action at the PNC Arena. The New York Islanders hope to finally take that next step after back-to-back conference finals trips. The Carolina Hurricanes have had no less than 80 points in each of the last six seasons and are fresh off a second round trip.
The New York Islanders are pretty much the same roster they’ve been that’s made these deep playoff runs, and they added Richard Panik, Zdeno Chara and Zach Parise this offseason. The Islanders are one of those teams without a clear weakness, as they get offensive production across the board and their defense is solid with two effective goalies in Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov. Mathew Barzal seems to be only scratching the surface at 24 years old, while the return of Anders Lee helps matters as well. The Islanders also get a full season from Kyle Palmieri after playing in just 17 games last year. The Islanders are a deep, balanced team that should have its eyes set on its first cup since the 1982-83 season.
The Carolina Hurricanes were quite busy this offseason, as they brought in Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Frederik Anderson, Antti Raanta, Tony DeAngelo and Ethan Bear, among others. Of course, the Canes also say goodbye to Dougie Hamilton, Petr Mrazek, Alex Nedeljkovic and James Reimer. The losses of Hamilton and Nedeljkovic could impact the Hurricanes negative defensively and expose the Hurricanes for trying to be too cute. While there are concerns, the Hurricanes still have a trio of Andrei Svechnikov, Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho that keeps this team in the contention conversation. Martin Necas also has another gear he can reach after back-to-back promising years and only being 22 years old. Offensively, the Hurricanes have a chance to be special.
The Islanders are 6-1 in their last 7 games playing on 3 or more days rest and 0-4 in their last 4 Thursday games. The Hurricanes are 9-4 in their last 13 home games and 1-4 in their last 5 overall. The over is 5-2 in Islanders last 7 road games. The under is 4-1 in Hurricanes last 5 overall. The Islanders are 0-4 in the last 4 meetings in Carolina and 0-8 in the last 8 meetings.
This is going to be one of the better games on a nice Wednesday NHL card, and you can understand why the Hurricanes are favored. With that said, the Islanders are a team I’ve backed a ton over these last two or three seasons, and they’ve paid off in a big way. I enjoy seeing the Islanders in the underdog role, even in these spots where they’ve lost eight straight games against the Hurricanes. Long term, backing the Islanders in these spots will make you money.