The highest-scoring series of the second round has been between the Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils, and that trend may well continue on Tuesday. Carolina won Games One and Two by 5-1 and 6-1 scores, respectively, while New Jersey responded on home ice with an 8-4 win on Sunday.
Who has the edge for Game Four? Read on to find out!
Canes Need to Shake Off Game Three Clunker
Carolina’s lousy Game Three performance wasn’t just the worst for this season. The eight goals against were the most the Hurricanes have given up since allowing seven to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals.
“We were no good,” Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “I don’t know what else to tell you. I’ve never seen us play like that. But I give the credit to the other team. They were on it. They were dialed in.”
If there’s a positive to take away from the loss, it’s that Carolina was able to score three shorthanded goals, becoming the fourth team in league history to score three shorthanded goals in a playoff game. The Hurricanes’ PK is a league-best 92.6% this postseason; however, cutting ruts to the sin bin isn’t a recipe for long-term success.
Devils Must Keep Up Offensive Outburst
New Jersey’s eight goals in Game Three were the second-most the franchise had ever scored in a playoff game. The team scored 10 goals against the Washington Capitals in the 1988 Patrick Division Finals.
Thirteen Devils skaters recorded a point, and seven had multi-point efforts. Jack Hughes led the way with two goals and two assists.
“That (first goal) was really important,” Jack Hughes said. “When they get the first goal, there is no risk in their game whatsoever. They’re on top of pucks, they got guys back”.
“It’s not just 1-0, but when it gets to 2-0, 3-0 they have to chase it a little more, and the ice opens up a little bit more. They’re a good team, and us getting that first goal was big for us, and obviously it made them play a little bit different I’d say.”
The Devils are 4-2 this postseason when scoring first while Carolina is 5-0.
Game Four Odds
Moneyline: Carolina +130, New Jersey -150
Puck Line: Hurricanes +1.5 goals -205, Devils -1.5 goals +175
Over/Under: 5.5 goals (-110 each way)
The Pick Is In
The Devils and Hurricanes are tied for the league lead in shots against with 28.3 this postseason. However, Carolina holds the strong edge in shot generation at 33.1 to New Jersey’s 28.7.
With more opportunities to score, a better team defense as a whole (in spite of the Game Three effort), and the edge in net, we’re running with Carolina on the moneyline in this one.
Score Prediction: Hurricanes 3, Devils 2
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