Carolina Hurricanes vs. Washington Capitals NHL First Round Playoff Predictions

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Alex Alarcon

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Content Manager for Pickswise.com The home of free sports picks and experts best bets.

The NHL First Round Playoff Games have arrived as Pickswise will be handing out daily winning NHL picks starting on Thursday. With over a decade of combined winning experience, Pickswise is your number one NHL first round playoff resource to win. To kick off the first round playoff games, the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals from the Eastern Conference will go toe to toe. Enjoy these free NHL first round playoff predictions? Give @Pickswise a follow and get a first hand-look on his daily research.


Hurricanes vs. Capitals First Round Playoff Predictions

Game 1: Hurricanes vs. Capitals
Line: Capitals -147
Pickswise Expert Picks: Capitals ML / WIN

The regular season was all well and good, but now the Washington Capitals begin their Stanley Cup title defense for real as they prepare to host the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 1 of an Eastern Conference playoff series on Thursday. There is only one thing not to like about the Capitals’ chances this time around, and that is quite simply the Tampa Bay Lighting–a team they may have to deal with down the road. As for themselves, the Caps inspire plenty of confidence. They have won each of goalie Braden Holtby’s last five starts, comfortably surpassing the 100-point mark (104). Holtby is 32-19-5 with a 2.82 goals-against average and .911 save percentage.

Can the Hurricanes solve him? Perhaps not. The ‘Canes aren’t any good on power-plays and only two Carolina players have more than 53 points. Points leader Sebastian Aho (83) is mired in a 14-game goal drought. Carolina is 17-38 in its last 55 playing on at least three days of rest and 2-8 in its last 10 trips to Washington. The Capitals are 5-2 in their last seven overall, 13-5 in their last 18 against the Eastern Conference, and 20-8 in the last 28 head-to-head meetings with Carolina. WASHINGTON is a confident pick.  


Game 2: Hurricanes vs. Capitals
Line: Capitals -280
Pickswise Expert Picks: Capitals ML / WIN

The Washington Capitals’ began the postseason version of their Stanley Cup title defense in style, beating the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round showdown on Thursday. Washington will take a commanding 2-0 advantage when the series resumes on Saturday. The opener probably shouldn’t have been as close as the score suggested, as the Capitals surged to a 3-0 lead after one period and never gave it up despite allowing two goals early in the third.Nicklas Backstrom scored twice or the Caps, Alex Ovechkin scored once, and John Carlson assisted on all three first-period goals. Goalie Braden Holtby (32-19-5, 2.82 goals-against average, .911 save percentage in the regular season) has now won six consecutive starts. Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho (team-leading 83 points) has gone 15 games without lighting the lamp. Carolina is 1-4 in its last five against teams with winning records and 2-9 in its last 11 at Washington. The Capitals are 6-2 in their last eight overall, and in their last eight against the Conference. WASHINGTON should keep it going.


Game 3: Hurricanes vs. Capitals
Line: Hurricanes -125
Pickswise Expert Picks: Hurricanes ML / WIN

The Washington Capitals have to hope that the 2018-19 Stanley Cup playoffs end the same way as last year’s festivities, but they undoubtedly thrilled with a much different start this time around. Last season they lost the first two games of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at home to Columbus, but they now lead the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 following two successful contests in the district. Although the Hurricanes probably won’t sweep the rest of this series like Washington did against Columbus in 2017-18, they should not be overly discouraged.

Carolina got edged in the opener 4-2 after being within 3-2 in the final minute and it lost a Game 2 heartbreaker 4-3 in overtime. Forward Andrei Svechnikov already has two goals and one assist in this postseason. The ‘Canes are right there–even though they don’t have anything to show for it…yet. They are 21-10 in their last 31 overall, 4-1 in their last five at home, and 4-1 in their last five against the Eastern Conference. It is also worth noting that the home team is 4-1 in the last five head-to-head matchups and the favorite is 5-1 in the last six. Don’t count out CAROLINA just yet.


Game 4: Hurricanes vs. Capitals
Line: Hurricanes -120
Pickswise Expert Picks: Capitals ML / WIN

The Eastern Conference playoffs have already been crazy enough. Things would really get out of hand if the Washington Capitals join powerhouse franchises Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay in the sidelines after just one round. But the Capitals appear to have other ideas by restoring order to the proceedings. Despite dropping Game 3 against the Carolina Hurricanes on the road, Washington still leads this opening series 2-1. Alex Ovechkin and company should have greater urgency in Game 4 on Thursday than they did on Monday, and it’s not like they are as futile away from home as that recent performance suggests (24 home wins and 24 road wins during the regular season).

Center Nicklas Backstrom has scored three goals already in this series. Carolina forward Nino Niederreieter has not yet recorded a point through three contests and his team finished in the bottom half of the NHL in scoring. Washington is 7-3 in its last 10 overall, 7-3 in its last 10 on the road, 15-6 in its last 21 against the Eastern Conference, and 5-1 in its last six at Carolina. The Hurricanes are 2-5 in their last seven against opponents with winning records and 7-19 in their last 26 head-to-head matchups with the Caps. Look for WASHINGTON to regain complete control of this series.


Game 5: Hurricanes vs. Capitals
Line: Capitals -150
Pickswise Expert Picks: Capitals ML / WIN
Hockey is not exactly the sport in which the home team has the biggest advantage, but home ice has certainly proved to be fortuitous in this Eastern Conference first-round series between the Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes. Washington took the first two games inside Capital One Arena before the ‘Canes took care of business down in Carolina. The result is an absolute critical Game 5 on Saturday in D.C. If the Hurricanes want to steal a road victory, they need three of their top players to get going. Forwards Teuvo Teravainen (76 points during the regular season), Nino Niederreieter (53 points), and Justin Williams (53 points) have combined for just one goal through four contests

On the other hand, Washington forward Alex Ovechkin and center Nicklas Backstrom have combined for five goals and three assists. Carolina is 2-5 in its last seven on the road, 1-5 in its last six against teams with winning records, and 0-4 in its last four at Washington. The Capitals are 7-2 in their last nine overall, 15-7 in their last 22 against the Eastern Conference, and 6-2 in their last eight head-to-head matchups with the ‘Canes. Count on WASHINGTON continuing the trend of home-team success.


Game 6: Hurricanes vs. Capitals
Line: Capitals -115
Pickswise Expert Picks: Capitals ML / WIN

The Washington Capitals haven’t exactly been coasting this Eastern Conference first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes, but by the standards of other favorites they are in good shape (Tampa Bay and Calgary, for example, are already done and dusted). And coast is exactly what the defending Stanley Cup champions did in Game 5 on Friday. They improved to 3-0 at home during this series and took a 3-2 lead overall by destroying Carolina 6-0, led by forward Alex Ovechkin (one goal, two assists) and center Nicklas Backstrom (two goals, two assists).

Ovechkin and Backstrom have combined for eight goals and seven assists through five contests, while defenseman John Carlson and forward Evgeny Kuznetsov have contributed five assists apiece. Washington has scored 14 goals in its three victories and there is no reason why that kind of success can’t translate to the road. For Carolina, Warren Foegele (five points) is the only center/forward who has been doing much of anything. Washington is 17-8 in its last 25 overall, 7-3 in its last 10 on the road, and 5-2 in its last seven at Carolina.

The Hurricanes are 2-5 in their last seven against teams with winning records and 7-19 in their last 26 head-to-head matchups with Washington. Don’t be surprised if THE CAPITALS seal the deal and advance to the conference quarterfinals.


Game 7: Hurricanes vs. Capitals
Line: Capitals -165
Pickswise Expert Picks: Capitals ML / WIN
As the defending Stanley Cup champions and winners of the Atlantic Division, the Washington Capitals probably didn’t envision getting pushed to a Game 7 by the Carolina Hurricanes. But, hey, it could be worse. After all, plenty of other favorites such as Tampa Bay, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Nashville are already making offseason tee times. And the best news for Washington is that it gets to play this decisive contest at home, an advantage that has been paramount throughout this series. In fact, the home team is 6-0 through six contests and the Capitals dominated Game 5 inside Capital One Arena by an eye-popping 6-0 scoreline.
Forward Alex Ovechkin scored once to extend his goal streak to three games and he has four goals and four assists during these playoffs. Center Nicklas Backstrom has five goals and three assists. The Hurricanes are 1-6 in their last seven road games against playoff teams. Carolina is 2-6 in its last eight on the road, 1-5 in its last six against teams with winning records, and 0-5 in its last five at Washington. The Capitals are 17-8 in their last 25 overall, 33-16 in their last 49 against the Eastern Conference, and 12-5 in their last 17 head-to-head matchups with the ‘Canes. “Survive and advance” can be the mantra for any team in the postseason and that is likely what WASHINGTON will do. 

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