The NHL is set up with another great night of hockey on Monday night. Ten games are up on the board throughout January 18. One of these games will be between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Nashville Predators. These two teams are coming off solid starts to this season and will look to keep it going with a win in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 8:00 PM Eastern time.
The Hurricanes finished out last season with a record of 38-25-5, which had them in fourth place of the Metropolitan Division. Carolina knocked out the New York Rangers in the qualifiers, but were eliminated by the Boston Bruins in the first round. The Hurricanes knocked have gone 1-1 to open up the new season and will look to get above .500 with a win in this one.
Nashville put up a record of 35-26-8 throughout last season, which had them sitting in fifth place of the Central Division. The Predators were knocked out by the Arizona Coyotes in the qualifying round. Nashville started out this season with a 2-0 sweep over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first two games. The Predators will look to keep the strong start going in this one.
These two teams have had solid starts to open up the new season. Carolina had a tough loss to the Detroit Red Wings in their last one, and will look to bounce back in this one. The Predators had a nice sweep of the Blue Jackets and will look to carry momentum over in this one. I expect both teams to set the speed early to try and earn a win on Monday night.
The Hurricanes and the Predators met up twice throughout last season. Carolina hosted the first game on November 29. Rocco Grimaldi and Calle Jarnkrok both scored in the first to give Nashville an early lead. Austin Watson put up another goal in the second period to give the Predators the win. Pekka Rinne stopped all 31 shots he faced as Nashville won 3-0.
The second game of the season series shifted to Nashville on February 18. Ryan Johansen scored for the Predators, but this time it was not enough. Justin Williams had two assists, while Sebastian Aho, Nino Niederreiter, Jordan Staal and Andrei Svechnikov all scored a goal for the Hurricanes. Petr Mrazek stopped 28 of 29 shots to help lead Carolina to a 4-1 win.
These two teams split the season series last season, each winning a game on the road. Carolina is going to come into this one with some fire after a slow performance on Saturday night. These two teams will meet up again on Tuesday night, which should lead to an interesting game plan on Monday. I expect both teams to still come out quick though as they look for an early win.
The Hurricanes had a strong special teams unit throughout last season. Carolina was able to score on 46 of their 206 power play opportunities, which is a 22.3 percent success rate. The Hurricanes killed off 39 of the 243 power plays against them, which was an 84 percent penalty kill. Carolina will look to keep those numbers as this season goes along.
Nashville’s special teams were not great throughout last season. The Predators capitalized on 39 of their 226 power play chances, which is a 17.3 percent power play. Nashville gave up 51 goals on 213 attempts to opposing teams, which was a 76.1 percent kill rate. The Predators will look to turn those numbers around to open up the new season.
Carolina had the better special teams throughout last season. The Hurricanes have gone 2-8 on the power play this season, while killing off all 4 of their penalties against them. Nashville has not scored on any of their 6 power play chances, but have not given up a goal on 4 power plays against them this season. If either team can get going in this one, it could propel them to the win.
I expect Petr Mrazek to get the nod in the crease in this one. Mrazek has started in both games to open up this season. In those two games he has a .912 save percentage and a 1.53 GAA. Last game Mrazek stopped 17 of 20 shots in the losing effort. He posted a save percentage of .905 and a GAA of 2.69 throughout last season.
Juuse Saros will likely get the start in the net for the Predators on Monday night. Saros has played in both wins to open up this new campaign. He has earned a save percentage of .959 and a 1.50 GAA in those games. Saros is coming off a season in which he finished with a .914 save percentage and a GAA of 2.70. Saros will look to continue to play well in the starter role this season.
These two goalies have been strong throughout the beginning of this season. These two teams will look for their starters to put up another strong performance in this one. Saros was heavily tested in the first two games against the Blue Jackets and will look to do so again in this one. I expect both goalies to come out hot in this one. If either team can break through early though, I think it will lead to a win.
The Predators are coming off back to back wins as they enter this matchup. Carolina had a tough loss to the Red Wings on Saturday night. I expect the Hurricanes to come out much better in this one as they look to earn a win on Monday night. Carolina was caught puck watching too many times against Detroit and I think they will come out much more cleanly against Nashville.
BetOnline has the Hurricanes listed as a -118 against the money line in this one. This implies that Carolina will win this game around 54.1 percent of the time. I think that this line should be bigger. The Predators were saved by Saros multiple times throughout their first two games. If the Hurricanes can come out strong in this one and take an early lead, they should be able to give Nashville their first loss.