The Carolina Hurricanes entered their first-round playoff series against the New York Islanders as heavy favorites against a team that only snuck into the playoffs at the end of the season, and they used Game 1 of the series to show everyone why they are expected to win, including those closely monitoring the developments around North Carolina sports betting.
The Canes scored power play goals early in the first period and early in the second, and that was all they needed as they cruised to a 2-1 win that was never as close as the score indicated. While Carolina residents cannot legally bet on their hometown team, they can still look to the betting markets with optimism as their Hurricanes are now massive -350 favorites to emerge from the series victorious.
And hopefully this is the Canes' last playoff run without North Carolina betting apps.
The final shot tally was 37-26 for the Hurricanes, but most importantly they only allowed nine shots in the third period and none were of the high-danger variety. The Islanders had a power play with five minutes left in the game, but Carolina didn’t allow a single shot and barely let the Islanders get set up in the zone, a crucial kill for their penalty killing unit that ranked second in the league in the regular season.
The excellent penalty killing, combined with the two power play goals on four opportunities, was a clinical special teams performance that ended up leading to the win.
Carolina Adhering To The Script
While the game showcased exactly why Carolina is expected to beat the Islanders, it also provided a glimpse of what gives the Islanders a chance to pull off an upset. Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin was spectacular, carrying over his regular season form, where he put up a .924 save percentage to cement his status as one of the top goalies in the league.
When he is on his game, the Islanders will always have a chance. Carolina is a team that thrives on playing with the lead and if Sorokin simply refuses to give it to them, they will have a tough time playing catch-up when New York manages to score the first goal. In no series will the game-opening goal play a more pivotal role than in this one.
Canes goalie Antti Raanta was up to the task in Game 1 and has been nearly unbeatable on home ice, but his ceiling is not as high as Sorokin’s.
The Isles' Sebastian Aho is the favorite over at BetMGM Sportsbook to score the first goal for either team in tonight's Game 2 at +900. Expect a BetMGM North Carolina bonus code should the state approve mobile apps before the next Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Carolina’s offense was led from the blueline by Brent Burns, who had two assists and six shots on goal in the game, bringing his playoff experience from years of deep runs with the San Jose Sharks to North Carolina in his first year with the Canes.
With forwards Andrei Svechnikov and Max Pacioretty both out for the playoffs with injury, Burns has taken a step forward offensively to help mitigate the loss of those players. Aho and Martin Necas both had good games up front and will need to step up even more to keep the pressure on Sorokin and the Isles. The forward lineup is deep but doesn’t have a ton of gamebreakers beyond those two, so contributions from everyone are of utmost importance.
It would come as no surprise to anyone to see this series go deep, especially with Sorokin looking primed to steal a couple of games from the favored Hurricanes.
But Carolina established a perfect blueprint for how to win the series in Game 1, and as long as they can continue to start strong and get the lead, their elite forecheck, strong defense and penalty kill will close out games and lead them to the second round.
Game 2 is tonight at 7pm ET at PNC Arena. BetCarolina, your home for North Carolina sportsbook promo codes, will keep close tabs on the series.