(31) Washington vs. Carolina (32)
PICK: sportsinteraction @ CAR (-115)
DATE: April 15, 2019 - 7:00 PM
STAR RATING: 10.0
EXPERT: Power Sports
EVALUATION: Win (1000)
10* Carolina (7:05 ET): The Hurricanes first playoff appearance in a decade figures to be a short one if they don't win here. But down 0-2 to the Capitals, the Canes return home to Raleigh for Game 3 Monday to play in front of what figures to be a pretty raucous crowd. The team went 24-13-4 SU on home ice during the regular season. While Washington has had Carolina's number in this series, and all season for that matter, you have to remember there wasn't much of a difference in the standings (just 5 points) or in YTD goal differential (+26 vs. +22). I'm siding w/ the home team in this virtual "do or die" scenario.
Carolina was #1 in the league in Corsi For % during the regular season (54.9%). This means they were the best at controlling the puck, which is obviously vital to winning hockey games. Correspondingly, no team outshot its opponents on a per game basis by a wider margin. The Canes were #1 in the league w/ 34.4 shots per game and #3 in fewest shots allowed at 28.6 per game. In Game 1, they badly outshot the Capitals (29-18) while Game 2 was an overtime loss. Of course, none of the possession stats matter if they can't eventually outscore the Caps in a game. I think Monday is that time.
This season has seen Carolina go 0-6 SU vs. Washington. The problem in the first two games of this series has been falling into early holes. The Hurricanes have been outscored 5-1 in the first period and that's pretty much put them "behind the 8-ball." But I'm thinking the home ice advantage for Game 3 is a "difference maker" as this is the first playoff game in Raleigh since 2009. These fans and this team didn't suffer through the longest postseason drought in the league to lose its first time at home. The Canes are 6-2 SU their last 8 games as a home favorite of -110 to -150 while Washington is 6-13 SU its last 19 games as a playoff underdog. 10* Carolina