The NHL has a busy Tuesday night with a total of nine games on. One of those matchups is the first game of the season between the Carolina Hurricanes and St. Louis Blues. These two teams will meet once more this season on March 1. Neither team has been great as of recently, but a win on Tuesday night would be the step in the right direction.
The Hurricanes have started out the season with a 6-6-2 record so far. Carolina sits in fourth place of the Metropolitan Division. The Hurricanes have dropped their last four games in a row. Carolina has gone 2-6-1 since starting out 4-0-1 to begin the season. The Hurricanes are coming off a shut-out loss to the Golden Knights on Saturday night and will look to bounce back with a win on Tuesday night.
St. Louis has started out the season with a record of 4-5-3, which has the Blues in seventh place of the Central Division. The Blues are coming off a 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night. St. Louis is in last place in the Central Division and needs to get back on track sooner rather than later if they want to stay in the playoff race. A win against the struggling Hurricanes would be huge.
Both of these two teams have not been great as of recently, but I believe both teams could turn it around. These two teams have talented rosters and should be able to compete pretty tightly with each other on Tuesday night. Carolina has lost three of their four straight losses by one goal, which shows that although they are losing, they are in each game.
Last Season’s Matchups
The Blues and Hurricanes met up twice last season. Carolina hosted the first game between these two teams. Jeff Skinner scored the lone goal for the Hurricanes, which was not enough. Dmitrij Jaskin and Brayden Schenn each scored for St. Louis to give the Blues the 2-1 win. Carter Hutton stopped 26 of 27 shots, while Cam Ward had 32 saves on 34 shots.
The second game of the season series was held in St. Louis. Kyle Brodziak had a goal and an assist, while Alex Pietrangelo had two assists to lead the Blues to the win. Scottie Upshall scored the game winning goal halfway through the third period to give St. Louis the 3-2 win. Carter Hutton stopped 23 shots in the Blues win.
St. Louis was able to sweep the season series against the Hurricanes last season. Both games were close and low scoring, but the Blues were the better team in each game. Carolina has started out this season much better than last season, which makes me believe they can start out this season’s series against the Blues with a win.
One of the reasons for the Hurricanes recent struggles has been the struggling special teams. Carolina has not managed to get much going on the power play so far this season. The Hurricanes have scored on 12 percent of their power plays to start out the season. On the penalty kill, Carolina has stopped opponent’s 69 percent of the time. The Hurricanes need to fix their special teams if they want to break this losing streak.
St. Louis has done much better on special teams this season. The Blues have scored on 31 percent of their power play opportunities. The league average is around 21 percent on the power play. St. Louis is around the league average on the penalty kill. The Blues have stopped their opponents on 80 percent of their power play opportunities.
The Blues have the much better power play and penalty kill. The Hurricanes will need to avoid taking penalties if they want to win, especially with how well St. Louis’ power play is playing. Carolina needs their power play to step up. The Blues don’t take too many penalties, so the Hurricanes will need to capitalize when they get the chance.
Scott Darling will likely get the start in net for the Hurricanes, especially as Petr Mrazek could still be out with injury. Darling has gone 0-2 in his starts so far this season. He has posted a save percentage of .893 and a 3.14 GAA in his two games. Darling will need to play a little better if the Hurricanes are going to break their losing streak.
I believe Jake Allen will get the start in net for St. Louis. Allen has posted a .879 save percentage and a GAA of 3.99 so far this season. He has a record of 4-3-3 in his starts this season. Allen’s numbers could definitely see some improvement. I believe the Hurricanes could take advantage of Allen’s poor play on Tuesday night.
The Hurricanes are looking to break their losing streak and I believe they have a good chance to do so against the Blues. St. Louis has been a streaky team this season and have not looked great either. Carolina will need to do better on special teams if they want to win though. I do believe that Darling’s play has been slightly better, especially because he has a smaller sample size.
BetOnline has St. Louis and Carolina listed at an even money line of -105. I believe that the Hurricanes have looked more impressive this season, which is why they are at an even money line. I believe Carolina takes advantage of this game and finally ends their losing streak on Tuesday night.