The Carolina Hurricanes tangle with the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night at the Prudential Center in Newark. The Hurricanes are feeling confident entering this contest, as they seek a four-game winning streak with a win against the Devils tonight. They’re coming off a textbook 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night, which is what they should be expected to do against a team like the Red Wings.
If you want to get into the playoffs, games like that must be won and the Hurricanes were able to get it done. Along with a win over the Red Wings, the Hurricanes got wins against the Penguins and Islanders. The Hurricanes are heading into Thursday with a record of 38-25-5 and 81 points. That’s good for a wildcard in the Eastern Conference, though there isn’t much room to maneuver. They’re tied with the Blue Jackets, with the Islanders breathing down their neck as well by a point.
There isn’t a whole lot of room for the Hurricanes to mess up in March. If, in fact, the season doesn’t get suspended as a result of the coronavirus and we’re still playing this month. We certainly know they have a team that can get into the playoffs and thrive, but they’re going to have to get there first. The Devils are the type of team that are important to beat.
They are not a playoff team, and if the Hurricanes play well enough it should result in 2 points and a win. With Petr Mrazek back on the ice, the Hurricanes should benefit greatly. They had to work with a Zamboni driver in spot duty against the Maple Leafs and did get the win. After that game, the Hurricanes struggled with backups to replace Mrazek and James Reimer.
The Hurricanes were on a four-game losing streak before downing the Islanders in overtime. They quickly turned that into a three-game winning streak, with the Hurricanes able to steal wins without Mrazek against the Islanders and Penguins. Mrazek returned to play against the Red Wings and was solid with 2 goals against on 25 shots. I think when it comes down to getting into the playoffs, their offence is going to have to keep the momentum going.
New Jersey are focusing on next season already, as they enter 28-29-12 and 68 points. Tough year for a team that expected a whole lot more. They were able to dump Wayne Simmonds on the Buffalo Sabres, so that’s a small win in a season that never felt right from the get-go. Jack Hughes must show progress next season for the team to move forward as well. They might already be having some regret passing on Kaapo Kakko, who ultimately went to the Rangers, but Hughes is still only 19 years old with room to grow. Head below for our free Hurricanes vs. Devils pick.
Carolina Hurricanes vs. New Jersey Devils Betting Odds:
Hurricanes vs. Devils Prediction:
The Hurricanes looked sharp in their last two outings, especially the offence who were able to turn on the red light 11 times. Beating the Red Wings for 5 goals isn’t particularly impressive, but 6 goals against Tristan Jarry and the Penguins definitely is. In their previous ten games, they’ve scored an average of 3.3 goals per game. When the offence is playing well, the Hurricanes certainly have the potential to get really hot.
However, it’s been a lot of all or nothing for them, and lately the Hurricanes have been in a groove. The 6-2 win over the Penguins might have been what they needed to find their mojo again. Carolina has been competent on the road, having scored 3.2 goals per game. The defence could be better, though, as they have allowed 2.97 goals a game on the road.
Mrazek owns a pedestrian 2.69 GAA and 0.905 save percentage on the year. Nothing wrong with a 2.69 GAA, but he could work on his 0.905 save percentage. Of course, he or Reimer are going to have to find an extra gear in the playoffs for the Hurricanes to find success. On the road his numbers drop to a 2.99 GAA and 0.898 save percentage.
In the Hurricanes’ last trip to Newark, they struggled defensively in a 5-3 loss against the Devils. However, the Hurricanes were able to follow it up with a much better performance against the Devils in Raleigh, as they secured a 5-2 win at PNC Arena. The Devils were playing much better defensively for a moment there. They allowed 2 or fewer goals in five of six games before a 3-0 loss against the Vegas Golden Knights.
In their last two games, the Devils have gotten hammered for 9 goals against. The Devils are 29th in the league with 3.25 goals allowed per game. Having allowed 3.18 goals per game at home, they haven’t been that much better in Newark, either. Expect an entertaining game, which could be in front of a crowd-less Prudential Center on Thursday night. I like a 4-3 final score to put this matchup OVER the total.