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Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals - NHL Picks and Bets

The Carolina Hurricanes make their way back to the NHL playoffs for the first time since the 2009 season, ending the league’s longest postseason drought. The Washington Capitals have gone exactly one season since winning the Stanley Cup, so it is going to be a tough assignment for the ‘Bunch of Jerks’.

Odds provided by FanDuel; for a full-set of today’s sports betting odds, access them at USA TODAY Sports.

Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals: By the Numbers

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

  • The Hurricanes lost all four meetings against the Capitals in the regular season, gaining just one point in a 6-5 shootout loss at PNC Arena in Raleigh on Dec. 14.
  • The Hurricanes are just 8-20 in the past 28 meetings in this series, and 2-8 in their past 10 trips to the nation’s capital.
  • Carolina was a respectable eighth in the NHL on the penalty kill at 81.6 percent, yielding 44 goals on 239 attempts.
  • Washington was less impressive on the kill, ranking just 24th in the NHL with a 78.9 percent mark.
  •  Alex Ovechkin punished the Hurricanes with four goals, six points and a plus-2 rating in four regular season meetings, including a power-play goal and assist on the man advantage.

Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals: Projected Goalie Starters

Petr Mrazek vs. Braden Holtby

Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney basically split starts down the middle, although Mrazek played much better down the stretch. Head coach Rod Brind’Amour has been mum about his plans, but you can probably expect to see both at some point, with Mrazek getting first crack in Game 1. He was 0-2-0 with a 2.56 GAA and .915 save percentage in two starts vs. Washington.

Holtby had a rather mediocre 2.82 GAA overall this season, although he was much better at home with a 17-9-4 record, 2.60 GAA and .918 save percentage in 32 starts. He started all four regular-season games vs. Carolina, going 4-0-0 with a 2.21 GAA and .918 save percentage.

Carolina Hurricanes at Washington Capitals: NHL Best Bet

Moneyline: The Capitals (-145) have started slowly in the postseason before, but they should be able to put away the Hurricanes (+125) in the opener.

Against the spread: The Hurricanes are not worth playing at (+1.5, -210), especially after being outscored 16-9 in the four meetings during the regular season. The Capitals (-1.5, +175) are the way to go if you’re into puck lines.

Over/under: The Under (5.5) is the way to go in Game 1, with the total going under in four of the past five meetings, and 4-0-1 in the past five battles between these two teams in D.C. Carolina also hit the under in five of the past five on the road to close out the regular season, with Washington ending the season on a 5-0 under run at home.

Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeWilliamsVI


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