The New York Islanders are in Carolina on Sunday for an early evening matchup against the Hurricanes. The Islanders are playing on a back-to-back in this one, as they hope to keep it rolling following a 6-1 win yesterday over the Flyers. They took advantage of the bad Philadelphia defence and gave them another embarrassing game to think about. The goaltending and blueline continues to struggle for the Flyers, and the Isles made sure to not let up when they were on the ground.
They go from the Flyers to an up-tempo Carolina team on Sunday. It seems crazy to think, but the Hurricanes have done away with just dump and chasing, and have instilled a much quicker game. For years the Hurricanes would rather sit back. That isn’t the case with this group, as Rod Brind’Amour has his team forcing the issue on the ice.
It does leave things open for a counter attack by the other team, but at least this team has become entertaining to watch. A solid goaltender would help out with that but we’ll see what Petr Mrazek has for a full-season. He showed some promise in Detroit for a season, which ultimately dissipated and he was sent out of town.
The Hurricanes are hoping that Mrazek can develop into their main option, so they won’t have to go to 35-year-old Curtis McElhinney too often. After Lehner picked up the win yesterday, the Isles are expected to go with backup, Thomas Greiss, in net. Head below for our free Islanders vs. Hurricanes pick on Sunday in the NHL.
N. Y. Islanders vs. Carolina Hurricanes Pick
Mrazek has been average for the Hurricanes with a 2.67 GAA and 0.885 save percentage. He could bring that save percentage a couple of points to get into better standing. It helps that he’s playing on a team that will give him better goal support than in Detroit, by a long shot, but there will be some games where he will have to steal wins.
His best performance of the year was in his return to Detroit, where he allowed just 1 goal in a 3-1 win for the Hurricanes last week. The Hurricanes have only played one game since then, a 4-3 win in overtime against the Sharks on Friday, so expect them to be fresh with only two games on their schedule from the previous seven days.
The Hurricanes have averaged 3.2 goals per game to give Brind’Amour a solid offence to work with this season. They’ve been especially good at home, with an average of 3.8 goals scored. Reiss has been average against the Hurricanes with a 2.74 GAA in 11 outings. Note that he hasn’t played this version of the Hurricanes, which is stressing offence and speed than ever before.
The Hurricanes are 1st in the league with 42 shots per game, so they are certainly pushing the puck and this won’t be anything he’s seen in the past from them. Conversely, Mrazek has been awful against the Islanders. He enters with a 3.26 GAA 0.889 save percentage in 13 appearances vs them. Tavares isn’t there anymore, but the Isles still have a competent offence with Barzal and Josh Bailey. The team is averaging 3.11 goals per game in 2018-19. This matchup likely favours a 4-3 or 5-3 final in Carolina.