If the Carolina Hurricanes are going to pull off a stunning first-round upset of the defending champion Washington Capitals in Game 7 on Wednesday (7:30 PM ET), they will have to do something no team has done yet in this series: win a game on the road.
The Hurricanes staved off elimination at home in Game 6, twice overcoming one-goal deficits in a well-earned 5-2 win.
Opening Odds for Game 7
The Capitals opened as sizable favorites for Game 7, sitting at -150 on the moneyline, with the underdog Hurricanes at +130.
The game total started at 5.5, shaded toward the under (+105o/-125u).
Game 1: Hurricanes 2 – 4 Capitals
Game 2: Hurricanes 3 – 4 Capitals (OT)
Game 3: Capitals 0 – 5 Hurricanes
Game 4:Capitals 1 – 2 Hurricanes
Game 5: Hurricanes 0 – 6 Capitals
Game 6: Capitals 2 – 5 Hurricanes
Hurricanes vs Capitals Statistical Comparison (Reg. Season)
|46-29-7 (22-16-3 away)||Record||48-26-8 (24-11-8 home)|
|286 (4th)||Goals For||257 (11th)|
|249 (20th)||Goals Against||212 (3rd)|
|50.82 (11th)||Fenwick %||52.89 (5th)|
|90.84 (10th)||Save %||91.23 (7th)|
|54.95 (3rd)||High-Danger Chances %||51.14 (14th)|
Game 7 Preview
This playoff series has been a microcosm of both teams’ seasons.
The Hurricanes are dominating the shot and possession metrics, while the Capitals’ snipers are converting their chances at a much higher rate.
The Canes have outshot Washington 192-153 in the series as a whole, but both teams have 17 goals through six games.
Give credit to the Capitals’ players. This is not a one-off. They had the second-highest shooting percentage in the league during each of the last two regular seasons (10.99% and 10.76%), and they were first the year prior (10.46%).
Shooting percentage is supposed to regress to the mean over time, but that working theory doesn’t account for the accuracy of Alex Ovechkin’s lethal one-timer.
The Hurricanes have been at the opposite end of the spectrum for almost as long. They were 20th in SH% in 2016-17 (8.5%), 28th in 2017-18 (8.90%), and 26th this year (8.61%), despite generating the most High Danger Chances in the league.
In terms of production, the usual suspects are getting the job done for Washington. Nicklas Backstrom (5 G, 8 PTS) and Alex Ovechkin (4 G, 8 PTS) lead the team in scoring, while John Carlson has a team-high 5 assists while logging over 25 minutes of ice-time per night.
On the Carolina side, it’s anything but expected. Warren Foegele (who had just 10 goals coming into the playoffs) scored his team-leading fourth goal of the postseason in Game 6.
He’s tied with two defensemen (Dougie Hamilton and Jacob Slavin) for the team-lead in points with six. Meanwhile, regular-season leader Sebastian Aho has just a goal and three helpers through six games.
Fellow Finn, Teuvo Teravainen, who was second on the team with 76 points in the regular season, has just three points.
It’s a small miracle Carolina has been able to keep up with the prolific Capitals without their two best offensive weapons producing at their usual level. Only one other player had more than 50 points in the regular season, and that was 37-year-old Justin Williams.
The miracle becomes even more pronounced when you compare the goaltending stats. Longtime playoff stud Braden Holtby has been solid in the Washington net (for the most part), posting a .916 SV%, while Petr Mrazek is at just .895 in the Carolina net with a -3.35 Goals Saved Above Average.
Those looking to wager on this Game 7 need to ask themselves if they see Holtby continuing to perform on home ice, or whether Mrazek will give the Canes a chance to use their superior team speed to overcome the odds.
Streaks and Trends
When it comes to spread-betting, the Hurricanes are an average 41-47 against the puckline this year, identical to Washington.
Keep in mind that there is no 3-on-3 OT or shootout in the playoffs. If there is an OT period, they play at full strength (barring penalties) until there’s a winner.