The NHL is set up with a solid slate of games on Tuesday night. Seven games will be up on the board throughout the night of February 18. One of these matchups will be between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Nashville Predators. Both teams have had solid seasons so far and will look to earn a nice cross conference win in this one. This game will drop the puck at around 8:00 PM Eastern time on ESPN+.
The Hurricanes have started this season off with a record of 33-21-4, which has them in sixth place of the Metropolitan Division. Carolina is one point behind the Philadelphia Flyers and two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders. The Hurricanes are coming off an overtime loss and have lost two of their last three. Carolina will look to bounce back with a road win in this one.
Nashville has posted a record of 29-22-7 to this point in the season. The Predators are currently sitting in fourth place of the Central Division. Nashville is currently tied with the Winnipeg Jets with two games in hand. The Predators are one point out of the final wild card spot in the Western Conference. Nashville has won three in a row and will look to make it four with a win on Tuesday night.
These two teams have both had strong starts to the season and it has them sitting right outside playoff spots right now. As we get closer and closer to the end of the season, every point matters and both these teams know it. I expect both teams to try and come out quick to earn a big two points as they try and grab playoff spots.
The Hurricanes and the Predators met up twice throughout last season. Carolina hosted the first game of the season series. Filip Forsberg scored twice for Nashville, but it was not enough. Sebastian Aho had three goals and an assist to give the Hurricanes a 6-3 win. Nino Niederreiter scored twice for Carolina in the second game of the season series to help lead the Hurricanes to a 5-3 win to complete the sweep.
The first game of this season’s series was hosted by the Hurricanes on November 29. Rocco Grimaldi opened up the scoring in the first. Calle Jarnkrok and Austin Watson both added goals of their own to help lead Nashville to a nice win. Pekka Rinne stopped all 31 shots he faced as the Predators were able to coast to a 3-0 win on the road.
Carolina was able to sweep the season series last season, but dropped the first game of this season’s series. Both teams were playoff contenders last season and are right in the hunt again this season. I expect an exciting game between these two teams as they both look for a huge two points on Tuesday night.
Carolina’s special teams have been solid on both sides throughout this season. The Hurricanes power play has been able to capitalize on 37 of their 174 power play chances, which is good for a 21.3 percent power play percentage. Carolina’s penalty kill has held opposing teams to 36 goals on 205 opportunities, which is an 82.4 percent kill rate.
The Predators have not been able to find success on either side of special teams, which has been an issue for them all season. Nashville’s power play has been able to put up 32 goals on 191 attempts, which is a 16.8 percent success rate. The Predators penalty kill has allowed their opponents to score on 47 of their 183 opportunities this season, which is a 74.3 percent penalty kill percentage.
The Hurricanes have the clear advantage in this game on special teams. Carolina has been above the league average on both sides of special teams, while the Predators have struggled. If the Hurricanes can get a power play goal or two in this one, it could give them a big advantage. Nashville slowed them down earlier in the season, but Carolina has gotten better on special teams as the season has gone along.
I expect Petr Mrazek to get the nod in the crease for the Hurricanes in this matchup. Mrazek has earned a record of 19-15-2 throughout his games played this season. In those games, he has posted a save percentage of .903 and a 2.72 GAA. Mrazek’s last start came against the New Jersey Devils where he stopped 35 of the 37 shots against him to help Carolina get the win.
Juuse Saros will likely get the start in the net for the Predators on Tuesday night. Saros has put up a record of 11-9-4 through his starts this season. He has earned a .904 save percentage and a GAA of 2.92. Saros’ last start came against the St. Louis Blues, where he turned away 23 of the 26 shots he faced to help give Nashville a big two points.
These two goalies have put up similar numbers throughout this season. Neither goalie has been spectacular for their respective club, but have gotten it done. Mrazek has lost three of his last four starts and will look to build off his last win against the Devils. Saros has earned wins in his last two starts and will look to keep the Predators on the winning streak as they try and sneak into the playoffs.
Nashville is coming into this matchup with a solid three game winning streak on the line, but I think that the Hurricanes have a good chance to knock them off on the road. Carolina holds the better special teams in this game, which they could use to their advantage in a big way. If Mrazek can step up and put up a start like he did in his last game, I think the Hurricanes will come out with the win.
BetOnline has the Predators listed as a -121 against the money line for Tuesday night’s matchup. This implies that Nashville will win this game around 54.8 percent of the time. These two teams are in very similar positions right now, which makes me think that the money line should reflect that more. The Hurricanes have had the better season overall and I think they have a good chance to pull off this upset on the road.