Chalk up a 2-0 night for my NHL pick last night in what felt like a true bounce back effort after an inconsistent first-half of the season far, highlighted by a dismal January.
I had the Wild on the moneyline at -105 over Vegas, and the picked look solid throughout as the Wild never trailed in that one, taking leads of 1-0, 2-1 and even 4-1. However, we got a little tight around the collar after Vegas scored a pair of quick third-period goals to turn a 4-1 game into a 4-3 game in the dying minutes. That said, Minnesota was able to hold on for the 4-3 victory and notch us a unit’s worth of profit.
Next came out Kings moneyline pick at -129 in Anaheim. Despite the late scratch of starting goaltender Cal Petersen in favor of third-string netminder Troy Grosenick — who last played NHL hockey in 2014 — this one was without sweat.
Grosenick turned a surprising start into a 33-save win — his first in six years — while his teammates supported him with authority in 5-1 Kings win. Those are the kind we like, and it gave us another unit’s worth of profit.
The 2-0 night netted us a pair of units as we continue to battle back. We’ll look to keep it rolling with this Predators vs. Hurricanes NHL Pick from Carolina!
- Season Record: 20-23
- Units: -3.88
Predators vs. Hurricanes Betting Odds
- Predators (+201)
- Hurricanes (-225)
- Predators +1.5 (-140)
- Hurricanes -1.5 (+120)
- Over 5.5 (-117)
- Under 5.5 (+106)
Predators vs. Hurricanes NHL Pick Breakdown
The offensive picture didn’t look great before the season began for these Preds and the results haven’t been any better.
Nashville enters this one ranked 28th with just 2.35 goals per game on the season, and while their power play has improved from finishing in last season’s basement, their 19.1% clip still sits in the bottom-half of the league at 19th league wide.
To be fair, their advanced metrics suggest that they should be scoring more than they have to this point.
The Predators rank 17th in scoring chances for/60 and 19th in both high-danger chances for/60 expected goals for/60 at 5v5 this season, according to Natural Stat Trick. Additionally, their 1.83 goals/60 at 5v5 this season sits a little under their 2.12 expected mark, so while not a huge difference, the Preds have deserved a little better fortune up front, but we won’t mistake this offense for a high-octane group.
Not helping their case is the absence of second-line center Matt Duchene despite his general struggles since joining the club prior to last season. Duchene is dealing with a lower-body injury that was initially expected to keep him out of game action for three-to-five weeks.
They were held to just two goals in the first game of this two-game set with the Hurricanes on Wednesday and will be looking to bounce back in this one tonight.
Not helping anything has been the team’s results on the back end this season despite the underlying numbers telling us they should have been much better.
Entering this one, the Predators rank 27th with 3.27 goals against per game on the season, and their awful 29th-ranked 70% penalty kill is ensuring that they don’t climb out of that bottom-five hole.
All this despite the Predators ranking in the top-10 in all of scoring chances against/60, high-danger chances against/60 and expected goals against/60. We knew that the top-four of Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm and Dante Fabbro would be able to limit chances, but the end results just haven’t been there, partially due to goaltending and that penalty kill.
However, there is a major problem for the Preds when it comes to that top-four tonight. Josi was injured on Tuesday and is out week-to-week with an upper-body injury, joining top-pairing mate Ryan Ellis who is out long-term with an upper-body injury.
If that weren’t enough, fellow top-four defender Dante Fabbro will miss the next two games after being suspended following an elbow to the head of the Hurricanes’ Brock McGinn on Tuesday.
Without three of their top four defenders, the Predators will welcome names like Alexandre Carrier, Ben Harpur and Jeremy Davies into their top-four tonight, something that does not bode well for their chances as long underdogs tonight.
I noted the team’s overall defensive result is partially due to the play of goaltenders Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros, both of whom have disappointed this season.
Saros has been out of the lineup since March 2, but traveled with the team for this lengthy eight-game road trip. While his status remain unclear at the moment, it’s likely that Rinne gets his fifth consecutive start in this one over third-stringer Kasimir Kaskisuo with the team’s postseason hopes on life support.
Rinne struggled early in January, but turned around to put forth a marvelous month of February in which he turned in a 2.15 GAA and .928 Sv% in eight outings, but he’s again fallen on hard times, posting a 3.77 GAA and .888 Sv% across five starts so far in March.
For the season, the 38-year-old has posted a 2.92 GAA and .903 Sv% while the recent workload in a condensed schedule certainly isn’t working in his favor.
All the sudden, these Carolina Hurricanes are an offensive juggernaut from any and all perspectives.
If surface results are your thing, you’ll see that the Hurricanes rank fourth in the league while averaging 3.36 goals per game on the campaign while their power play has delivered a 29.8% clip, good for third league wide.
If you’re an advanced metrics kind of person, you’ll notice that the Hurricanes rank fourth in scoring chances for/60, second in high-danger chances for/60 and first overall in expected goals for/60 at 5v5 this season. In fact, their 2.32 goals/60 at 5v5 this season is actually under their 2.50 expected mark, so this is confirmed one of the top offenses in the NHL.
Nashville isn’t the only club dealing a key injury at the moment as the Hurricanes will be without center Vincent Trocheck for this one tonight. Trocheck is having a big rebound season that has seen him tally 24 points in as many games, but he’s also been a monster on the power play with six goals and 13 man-advantage points this season. Head coach Rod Brind’Amour didn’t provide any updates other than he’s out for tonight and will be re-evaluated this week, calling it a “tough blow”.
The Hurricanes have largely been recognized for their stout defensive efforts in recent seasons, and while the offense has taken over as leading the charge this season, the surface results on defense have been solid.
The ‘Canes enter this one tied for ninth overall with 2.64 goals against per game on the season, and their penalty kill has been solid at 11th with an 82.2% mark.
However, the underlying metrics are lower on their defensive work so far.
At 5v5, the Hurricanes rank 17th in scoring chances against/60, 18th in high-danger chances for/60 and 20th in expected goals against/60 on the campaign while their 2.02 goals against/60 is a little lower than their 2.24 expected mark.
The solid penalty kill has boosted the overall results a little bit, but with the structure and personnel on the ice, it’s difficult to envision much of a drop from this group moving forward.
Defenseman Jake Gardiner remains out of the lineup while youngsters Haydn Fleury and Jake Bean man the bottom-pair, but with a top-four of Jaccob Slavin, Dougie Hamilton, Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce — who is having a huge year — this team is in good hands on the back end.
James Reimer and Alex Nedeljkovic have alternated starts in the absence of Petr Mrazek of late, and while Mrazek is getting close to a return to the lineup, it doesn’t appear he’s quite ready at this point.
With Nedeljkovic earning the 3-2 OT win on Tuesday, expect Reimer to be back between the pipes tonight, although we don’t have confirmation of such as of yet.
It’s been an uneven season for the veteran as Reimer owns a 2.83 GAA and .903 Sv% on the season, largely on the back of a tough stretch of games in the month of February. However, he’s been excellent in two March outings, allowing just two goals in each start while posting a .934 Sv% in that time.
He most recently turned aside 21 of 23 shots in a win over Florida, but has had Nashville’s number this season, posting a 2-0-0 record, 2.00 GAA and .944 Sv% against the Preds on the season.
Predators vs. Hurricanes NHL Pick
It was a tight affair on Tuesday in a 3-2 Hurricanes OT win, but the Hurricanes out-shot Nashville 35-23 in that one and their power play went 2 for 6 to give them a 40.9% clip on their power play (9 for 22) over their last six games. The Hurricanes are a clean 10 for 10 on the penalty kill over their last two, including 5 for 5 on Tuesday.
This matchup is a major mismatch from most angles in favor of the Hurricanes, but man is Nashville going to be in tough without three of their top four defenders against the No. 4 offense and No. 3 power play in the league.
Losing Trocheck isn’t ideal for Carolina, but they are a balanced club with plenty of depth, and that blueline remains about as solid as it gets.
While the NHL has very much been a one-goal league this season, I see an opportunity here to target a puckline pick.
Carolina is — by far — the better team at both ends of the ice, and when you add in the Preds’ lengthy injury list I’ll take Carolina -1.5 on the puckline at what I believe are valuable odds.