Top 3 reasons the Carolina Hurricanes will win in Round 1 of the NHL Playoffs

The Carolina Hurricanes are facing a New York Islanders team that came out of nowhere to finish third in the Atlantic Division.
Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets
Carolina Hurricanes v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages
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The Carolina Hurricanes shouldn’t underestimate the New York Islanders, but there is no doubt that they have a few huge advantages coming into this contest. And it goes far beyond a superior points total, in which the Canes finished with 17 more than New York. 

Carolina also held the advantage in a season series that saw them collect two wins, a regulation loss, and one overtime loss against their Metropolitan Division rival, good for five points. While they gave up a rather alarming 3.5 goals against New York, they also averaged 4.00 goals for. 

In the game they played one another following the trade deadline, Carolina more than got the best of New York in a 4-1 win. It was an outing that saw then-newcomer Jake Guentzel record a pair of assists and an empty-net goal while Evgeny Kuznetsov chipped in for an assist. 

But recent history isn’t the only reason Carolina is going into this series with an advantage. Let’s discuss three reasons why the Hurricanes should get the best of New York in Round 1. 

Special teams will go a long way in this series for Carolina

Carolina turned in one of the best power play units in the league, scoring 26.91 percent of their opportunities, which was exactly six percent above the NHL average this season. Meanwhile, they’re facing one of the worst penalty kill units in hockey, as the Islanders stifled opposing man advantages just 71.49 percent of the time. 

For context, they finished nearly eight percent below the league average, so the Hurricanes 5-on-4 unit should score time and again when they get their chances. The only real caveat here is that the Isles scored 10 shorthanded goals this season, and the Canes gave up eight - one more than the NHL average. 

New York’s power play also wasn’t great, converting just 20.35 percent of the time, or nearly 0.6 percent below the NHL average. As for Carolina’s penalty kill unit, it was one of the best in hockey, stopping opposing power play units 86.43 percent of the time, well over seven percent above average.