The Carolina Hurricanes eliminated one New York-area hockey team and will now face another.
After doing away with the New York Islanders in six games, the Hurricanes will take on the New Jersey Devils in an Eastern Conference semifinal matchup. The Devils won their first playoff series in 11 years after blanking the New York Rangers 4-0 in Game 7 of their first-round series Monday night.
Now, the Devils open the series with the Hurricanes as slight favorites in the odds despite not having home-ice advantage.
Home Ice Not a Huge Advantage in Hockey
You don’t have to look past the first round of this year’s playoffs to see that home ice isn’t a hugely important edge in the NHL.
- The first four games of the Devils vs. Rangers series ended with the road team winning.
- The Boston Bruins, who finished the regular season with the most wins and points in NHL history, went 1-3 at home in a first-round loss to Florida after dropping Game 7 in overtime.
- The Colorado Avalanche, the top seed in the Western Conference and defending Stanley Cup champions, went 1-3 at home in a first-round loss to Seattle, a franchise in its second year of play. In Game 7’s 2-1 win, the Kraken became the first team in NHL history to win their first playoff series against the defending Cup champ.
With that said, let’s look at the Devils’ series prices and their odds in this series against the Hurricanes.
Devils vs. Hurricanes Odds: New Jersey a Small Favorite for Second-Straight Series
The Devils opened as a slight favorite against the Rangers in the first round. That changed after back-to-back blowouts in Games 1 and 2. But New Jersey won Game 3 in overtime then dominated Games 4 and 5 to take a 3-2 series lead. After a Game 6 loss, the Devils got great goaltending from Akira Schmid in the shutout victory.
Offensively, Michael McLeod opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal, which was followed by a Tomas Tatar score five minutes later to make it 2-0. Both second-period goals were each player’s first of the series. Erik Haula scored in the third, and Jesper Bratt put in an empty-netter to set off a loud celebration at the Prudential Center.
The Devils will try to ride the momentum going into Wednesday’s Game 1 at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. For the series, Caesars Sportsbook has the Devils as a slight favorite over the Hurricanes in the odds to advance to the Eastern Conference Final.
|TEAM||ODDS TO WIN SERIES|
|New Jersey Devils||-125|
Inside the Odds for Devils vs. Hurricanes Series
The teams finished within a point of each other in the Metropolitan Division. Carolina came out on top and earned home-ice advantage for this round. The teams split four games during the regular season. Advanced analytics also see the series as very tight, but with Carolina having a slight edge–the Hurricanes win the series 52 times in 100 simulations. There’s a 31% chance of the series going seven games, whereas the chances of a sweep are just 12%.
When the Devils played their game–controlling the pace and playing 5-on-5–they fared well against the Rangers. In 5-on-5 during the regular season, New Jersey had a goals edge over Carolina of 2.94 to 2.66. Defensively, the Hurricanes allowed 2.11 goals to NJ’s 2.29 goals per game. After back-to-back 5-1 losses, the Devils led all playoff teams with a 58.7% expected goals rate at full strength.
Carolina is without Andrei Svechnikov and Max Pacioretty and also possibly without Teuvo Teravainen too. The Devils come in healthy but with a common playoff trope–wondering how long the hot goaltender will last.
Schmid the X-Factor in Devils vs. Hurricanes Series
Vitek Vanecek was 33-11-4 in the regular season with a 2.45 goals against average but was benched after those two 5-1 defeats in Games 1 and 2 against NYR. Akira Schmid, who played well in just 16 regular-season contests, got the nod for Game 3 and didn’t look back, going 4-1 for the Devils the rest of the series.
He allowed just two total goals in Games 3-5, but he was touched up for five goals in Game 6. The 22-year-old rebounded with a 31-save performance in the Game 7 shutout.
Schmid did not suit up against the Hurricanes this year, but he will no doubt get the start in Game 1 as the hot goalie for the team.
Devils vs. Hurricanes Odds: Who Will Win?
Even though the Devils were favored in the first series, many didn’t expect them to advance based on their playoff inexperience. After Game 2, they were essentially written off. Now that their fortunes have changed–and also not playing their biggest rival–expect New Jersey to play loose. Carolina went out in the second round last year at home to the Rangers, and they will be looking to avoid history repeating itself against a NY-area team.
We’re going to stick with the team and take New Jersey in 7. We expect Schmid to continue to play well and the injuries by the Hurricanes to take their toll.