Here are Today’s NHL Picks:
Islanders @ Hurricanes
New York and Carolina have battled to what feels like an even stalemate. Despite that fact, Carolina has played a hair better in the crucial moments and has a 2-0 series lead as a result. The question now becomes what happens with an extra day of rest and a shift to Raleigh for Game 3?
Unfortunately, even this second round has featured a lot of changeable results. Have we been on the right side of those more than not? Sure. However, this is not something to take for granted. Keep in mind, the two teams have combined for just four goals in this series through two games.
Game 3 features more questions than answers. Will a team get a two-goal lead? Will Andrei Svechnikov play? Then, there is this. So, why is the moneyline as low as -117 for Carolina? Is that because it has been such an even series? Or, is it because of something else?
A big key for Carolina is to keep rolling those lines. If Svechnikov and Martinook play as projected, that is a big boost to the Hurricanes. That balance is vital as the middle-six help will make it easier for Rod Brind’amour to roll four lines with confidence.
Carolina has absorbed some vicious hits and injuries in this series. Fortunately, Petr Mrazek appears only to be out for Game 3 as of now. The Islanders have a few injury concerns of their own, but Cal Clutterbuck may even play. That could not be confirmed as of press time.
Is this the game where the offenses break out a little bit? Scoring chances have been there, especially of the high-danger variety. It is all about execution. This will be something to watch from both sides.
1u – CAR Hurricanes Moneyline @ -117
Blues @ Stars
Just when one thought St. Louis might drop a game on the road in these playoffs, they rallied each time the Stars tied the game. The result was a 4-3 win that felt almost like two victories. Even when Jordan Binnington appeared a little human, St. Louis picked up their young goaltender.
St. Louis has one of the better power plays in the league recently, but it is their composure in pressure situations that drives opponents crazy. Look at the Esa Lindell incidents err embellishments and one will see how much the Blues have crept into the heads of some Dallas players.
How does St. Louis continue to slow down that Seguin line? They did not do quite as good of a job in Game 3, but they were slowed just enough to limit the damage to two goals. None of the other Dallas lines were active for sustained periods of time – just brief blips.
Game 4 feels like a contest with many traps. The goalie matchup is Jordan Binnington and Ben Bishop again. Watch to see how Dallas tries to spread out the Blues’ second and third defensive pairings with lots of speed.
Home ice advantage was negated in Game 3 by the Blues because they were able to score first and answer every Dallas challenge. That is not easy to do in the playoffs on the road but there is a reason why St. Louis is 4-0 in these playoffs away from home. The line will be one to watch much like the line for the Carolina/New York over/under.
This series is so even that it would not take much to bet one way or the other on Game 4. All it takes is the first goal.
1u – DAL Stars Moneyline @ -120
1u – Over 5.5 total goals @ +150
By Chris Wassel