NHL Picks: Hurricanes vs. Islanders

David Lawrence

Sunday, February 24, 2013 2:25 PM GMT

Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013 2:25 PM GMT

The Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders aren’t separated by much in the standings but does that mean that these teams are just about equal? We’ll find out in our NHL Picks on Sunday.

While the Isles are lumped in with some heavyweights like the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils, the Hurricanes get a free pass with rivals like Winnipeg, Washington and Florida.

Record: 53-59 (-570)

The Carolina Hurricanes can win because…

The Islanders can’t stop giving up goals. Although the general consensus is that the Isles are an improved team and that Evgeni Nabokov has played well in net, they still can’t keep their opponents off the score sheet. Nabokov has a GAA of 3.11 and the Isles are just one of three teams in the NHL to have already allowed 60 goals this season. The Hurricanes head into Saturday’s game having scored 29 goals in their nine previous games, so clearly their offense should have a good day on Long Island.

The Hurricanes have won 20 of the last 31 meetings and if their offense is going, they’re going to get the win here.

The New York Islanders can win because…

The Hurricanes are without a number of key players, which should be taken into consideration while makeing your NHL Picks. Tuomo Ruutu is out and Jeff Skinner are out while Joni Pitkanen and Tim Gleason were questionable to play for Saturday, which means they’ll have the same tag for Sunday. The Isles have dominated this series of late, winning four of the last five meetings and if the Hurricanes are shorthanded again, they should extend that trend.

The Isles should see Cam Ward on Sunday as Dan Ellis got the nod on Sunday, and that’s a good thing. Not only does Ward have a meager .896 save percentage and 3.27 GAA this season, he’s also allowed 17 goals in his last five starts. He’s given up 15 goals in his last five starts against the Isles.

[gameodds]7/219227/43/us[/gameodds]

Outlook & Pick

Both teams will be playing their third game in four nights and it’s not as if either’s defensive units were that good to begin with. I see the congested schedule as leading to more defensive laps and more goals.

Seven of the last nine meetings have gone over on the NHL odds and I’ll look for that trend to continue once more.

NHL Picks: Over 5.5 at Bovada

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