The Washington Capitals have staked an early 2-0 series lead in their best-of-seven first round matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes. Now they will look to put a stranglehold on the series with an opportunity to move within one game of advancing.
The Hurricanes have been close in both games but it hasn’t been good enough. Can they get on the board in Game 3 now that they have the home-ice advantage?
Capitals vs Hurricanes NHL Playoffs Betting Analysis
Washington certainly travelled well throughout the regular season with a 24-15-2 record on the road, including a pair of wins over the Hurricanes. Only one NHL team finished with more road wins. Also, Washington is 11-3 in its last 14 playoff games when listed as a dog.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are favorites to win Game 3 despite their overall lack of success versus the Capitals all season. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games when listed as a favorite between -110 and -150 odds. For what it’s worth, they have won four straight games on Mondays.
There is no reason to expect the Washington scoring to slow down after back-to-back playoff wins in which they scored four goals against Carolina. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have once again elevated their games in this series. Backstrom has four points already in this series. Ovechkin has a goal and two assists. The Capitals are an impressive 8-4 in their first game on the road after playing three in a row on home ice.
The key to Game 3 will be the play of Braden Holtby, who has been strong in each of the first two games of the series. Holtby has turned aside 52 of the first 57 shots he has faced in these playoffs. However, keep in mind that Holtby’s splits indicate that he’s much more reliable at home. He was 17-9-4 at home this season with a 2.60 GAA. On the road he was 15-10-1 with a 3.07 GAA.
The Hurricanes have had no answer for the Capitals offence through the first two games of the series. Petr Mrazek hasn’t been great between the pipes, so it will be interesting to see if Carolina makes a change there. Mrazek made a couple of huge late-game saves to help force overtime but for the most part he was sub-par. He now has an .860 save percentage in the series, which simply won’t get the job done. Considering Mrazek’s struggles, it wouldn’t be a major shock to see Curtis McElhinney take over as the starting goaltender. McElhinney had the worse numbers in the regular season but remember, the ‘Canes relied on both as Mrazek started 40 games while McElhinney started 33.
Regardless of who is in net, the Hurricanes need to tighten things up defensively in front of them. The Capitals only have 50 shots in the series but have notched seven goals.
Carolina relied heavily on puck possession and smart play throughout the regular season but that has come apart somewhat in this series. Sebastian Aho recorded the first playoff goal of his career in Game 2 while rookie Andrei Svechnikov had a pair of goals for the Hurricanes in their opener. Still, Carolina will have a very tough time winning this game if they give up four goals or more once again.