The NHL is set up with a solid slate of games on Thursday night. Twelve games will be up on the board throughout the night of February 6. One of the matchups to close out the night will be between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Arizona Coyotes. These two teams are on the cusp of a playoff spot, which should lead to a good game on Thursday. This game will start at around 9:00 PM Eastern time on ESPN+.
Carolina has earned a record of 30-20-3 to this point in the season, which has them sitting in sixth place of the Metropolitan Division. The Hurricanes are two points behind the Philadelphia Flyers, who are in the final wild card spot. Carolina lost their last game and have lost two of their last three since the all star break. The Hurricanes will look to bounce back with a win on Thursday night.
The Coyotes have posted a record of 27-21-7 throughout this season so far. Arizona is currently tied for third place in the Pacific Division with the Vegas Golden Knights. The Coyotes are only one point out of the second place spot in the pacific and four points behind the division leading Vancouver Canucks. Arizona has lost five of their last six games coming into this one and will look to earn another win in this one.
These two teams have put up solid records to this point in the season, which has them right in the thick of the playoff race. This game will be a pivotal one, despite being out of the conference. I expect both teams to try and control the pace of the game early to get an early edge. I expect this to be one of the top games on Thursday night.
The Hurricanes and the Coyotes met up twice throughout last season. The first game was hosted by Arizona. Michael Grabner scored the game winner in overtime after Carolina erased a 3-0 Coyotes lead. The second game of the season series shifted to Carolina. Calvin de Haan earned two assists as the Hurricanes were able to take it 3-0.
The first game of this season’s series was hosted by Carolina on January 10. Warren Foegele scored in the first to give the Hurricanes the lead. Lucas Wallmark and Martin Necas both added goals in the second to help extend the lead. Petr Mrazek stopped 32 shots to help give the Hurricanes another 3-0 win at home over the Coyotes.
The Hurricanes have won two in a row against Arizona, but these two teams have split the season series over the past three seasons. Both teams are in competitive spot this season, so they will look to come out fast. These two teams are also in a bit of a slump, which should lead to them trying to get on the board early and often.
Carolina’s special teams have been solid on both sides throughout this season. The Hurricanes power play has capitalized on 35 of their 162 opportunities, which is a 21.6 percent power play. Carolina’s penalty kill has held their opponents to 32 goals on 187 power play chances, which is an 82.9 percent kill rate.
The Coyotes power play has been capitalizing a little under the league average to this point in the season. Arizona has been able to score 32 power play goals on 168 attempts, which is a 19.1 percent success rate. The Coyotes penalty kill has been better though. Arizona has allowed opposing teams to score on 27 of their 154 power play chances, which is an 82.5 percent penalty kill.
These two teams have put up very similar penalty kills to this point in the season, but it is the Hurricanes power play that gives them the slight advantage in this game. If Carolina can score one or two on the man advantage, it could give them a big edge in this game. The Coyotes will look to step up on the penalty kill to try and make special teams not a big factor in this matchup.
Petr Mrazek is expected to get the start in the crease in this matchup for the Hurricanes. Mrazek has posted a record of 18-14-2 throughout his 34 games played this season. He has earned a save percentage of .900 and a 2.73 GAA. Mrazek’s last start came against the St. Louis Blues, where he allowed 6 goals on 26 shots in a losing effort.
Antti Raanta is expected to get the nod in the net for Arizona on Thursday night. Raanta has started this season with a record of 10-11-3 through his 24 starts this season. Raanta has put up a .917 save percentage and a GAA of 2.80. Raanta’s last start was against the Edmonton Oilers. He turned away all 30 shots he faced to give the Coyotes a big win.
Raanta has had a better stat line to this point in the season so far. He is coming off a huge shutout against a division rival, while Mrazek is coming off a tough start against the Blues. If Mrazek can get in a groove early, it could allow him to have a huge bounce back game. If the Coyotes can rattle him early though, I like Arizona’s chance to earn a victory at home over Carolina.
The Hurricanes were able to knock off the Coyotes in the first game of the season series, and I like Carolina’s chances to pull off the sweep. The Hurricanes have fallen off a bit, but with the standings so close, I think that they will make a strong push in this final stretch of the season. Carolina has a nice edge on special teams in this game and if Mrazek can bounce back, I like the Hurricanes to earn a road win.
BetOnline has Carolina listed as a -115 against the money line in this game. This implies that the Hurricanes will win this game around 53.5 percent of the time. Carolina has the better team in my opinion and after a big loss to the Blues in their last game, I think that they will come out strong in this game to earn a big road victory.