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Islanders vs. Hurricanes, Bruins vs. Maple Leafs

The 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs begin Saturday night with Game 1 of Islanders-Hurricanes and Maple Leafs-Bruins.

The New York Islanders will get a chance at redemption against the Carolina Hurricanes, a year after being eliminated by them in the first round in six games last year.

Boston and Toronto both have a lot at stake. The Bruins look to bounce back from their first-round loss after posting the best regular season record of all time last year. This is all while Toronto is still trying to pry the extended monkeys off its back in the playoffs.

I’ll touch on a few best betting picks we’re targeting off the board during both matchups.

Islanders-Hurricanes 60 minute draw (+350 at FanDuel)

Make no mistake: the Hurricanes still have a significant lead here; they enter the play-offs as +600 favorites to lift the cup in June.

Gaining access to the zone and generating any kind of offense is no easy task against the Hurricanes. They are the toughest team to compete against in a five-on-five game and finished the year ranked No. 1 in puck possession.

They also kill an advantage of 86.4% of penalties, which is an uphill climb for an Islanders group that scored at a mediocre 20.3% share with the man advantage.

It makes for dull, boring hockey if the opponent can keep up with the merely impeccable hockey structure that Rod Brind’Amour employs.

The Islanders took the Hurricanes to overtime twice in four games. They are sprinting into the playoffs after going 7-0-1 in their last eight games.

Since Patrick Roy took over the helm of the Isles bank, he has found a way to make lemonade with his staff. The Isles have received contributions from every line, along with a significantly improved five-on-five play that shows unity in all three zones.

It’s worth going overtime here as both teams are all too familiar at this point.

Ilya Sorokin Over 29.5 Saves (-122 at FanDuel)

As usual, if the Islanders want to have any chance of hanging on in this series, they will need Ilya Sorokin in the cage the most.

Sorokin did not perform with nearly the same prowess as he did in the 2022-2023 season, but he still claimed points in 44 of his 63 appearances. He accomplished this while taking 32.54 shots per game, with plenty of inconsistencies happening on the ice in front of him.

In Sorokin’s three starts against Carolina, he averaged 39.7 shots and stopped 36 for a .908 save percentage.

When he faced them in the 2023 playoffs, he still posted more than his line of 29.5 for Game 1 with 32.3 for a save percentage of .924 over the six games.

Carolina directed 33.3 shots on goal in the regular season, but was not a high-scoring team, scoring on 10.1% of shots, which ranked 15th.

Sorokin has too much action on Saturday to ignore the over on his rescue prop. Great goaltenders come into play at a high volume.

” READ MORE: Stanley Cup Playoffs Predictions: Best Bets for Each Conference, Finals Winner

David Pastrnak over 4.5 shots (+115 at BetMGM)

Speaking of players that teams rely on to win games.

The Bruins had a little more to look forward to this season after a humiliating end to a historic campaign last year.

David Pastrnak was one of the few factors that remained consistent. No pun intended, this guy was the bread and butter of the power play, accounting for 22.2% of the unit’s goal output.

The Bruins haven’t fielded the strongest power play, but Pastrnak finds shooting lanes no matter the scenario. He followed up with another triple-digit season, reaching 13th in five-on-five expected goals.

Pastrnak averaged 4.6 shots on goal while logging 19:56 of ice time as the most active forward on the Bruins over a full 82-game campaign.

Boston dominated Toronto with a 4-0 record, while Pastrnak generated six shots on goal in those games.

If you’re not yet convinced of his potential to raise the bar here, he led the league in shots on target per 60 minutes.

It’s a somewhat generous award that stands out because part of the Bruins offense revolves around Pastrnak’s stick.

The Inquirer is not an online gambling operator or betting site. We provide this sports betting information for entertainment purposes only.