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Picks, predictions for Hurricanes vs. Islanders in first round of 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs

We give our predictions for Hurricanes vs. Islanders in the first round of the 2023 NHL playoffs.

Bo Horvat and Sebastian Aho of the New York Islanders celebrate a 6-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the UBS Arena on April 06, 2023 in Elmont, New York. Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Carolina Hurricanes will take on division rival New York Islanders in the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs with Game 1 set for Monday, April 17. The ‘Canes and Isles have seen a lot of each other since the conferences realigned and have even met in the postseason. Here we’ll take a look at the matchup and make some predictions.

2023 NHL Playoffs: Hurricanes vs. Islanders prediction

This series should be closer than the odds suggest. The Hurricanes are favored at -190 on the series prop line. Carolina won the regular-season series 3-1, though the most recent meeting may give us a good look into how this series will play out. The Hurricanes won 2-1 on a late goal from Jordan Martinook. Ilya Sorokin made 33 saves. This series should be tight, low scoring and come down to goaltending/a timely goal. That’s a great recipe for playoff hockey. It’s also what the Isles and ‘Canes do best.

In a tight series, it can go either way. Sorokin gets the edge in net over Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta. The Hurricanes have a deeper defense and more dynamic forward group. Carolina can roll four lines and has balanced scoring. The Islanders lack scoring but should get Mat Barzal back in the lineup. If Barzal can return, that’s a huge boost. Plus, the Hurricanes don’t have Andrei Svechnikov or Max Pacioretty, missing depth scoring that could rear its ugly head in the postseason.

My gut is going with the Islanders as underdogs. I know I’m going to regret it when the Hurricanes are up 3-0 but this series should be close and my feeling is we get a few overtime games as well. In a series where there’s a lot of one-goal hockey I tend to lean on the better goaltender in Sorokin. Both teams have great PKs and poor power plays, so special teams should be a wash. If Barzal plays, give me the Islanders. If not, Hurricanes.

Prediction: Islanders in 7