The Carolina Hurricanes look to pick up the pieces after falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning last night. It was a solid effort by the Hurricanes, who had the Lightning on the ropes with about 8 minutes to play. However, the Bolts struck on the power play and they tacked on a couple more goals to secure a 3-1 victory. No team can hope to beat the Lightning by scoring just 1 goal. Even when there was less than 10 minutes left in the game, there was almost a feeling that the Bolts had to come through with a goal or two.
They sure did and went on to win the game. The Lightning appeared to tie the game up in the 2nd off a pretty play by Brayden Point on a breakaway, but Tyler Johnson was ruled offside as he was exiting the ice to go on the bench. His skate was still on the ice, though it had no bearing on the play. It was a good eye by the Hurricanes to catch it. Last night was the first loss for the Canes in six games. They were previously on a five-game winning streak before Tampa put their foot down in the 3rd period.
Petr Mrazek nearly pulled a rabbit out of the hat against the Lightning. Carolina gave Curtis McElhinney the night off in anticipation of their back-to-back against the Sabres tonight. They must not have put much stock into their trip to Tampa. Benching their better option and going with the backup against a team like the Lightning.
Mrazek played well, though, so I don’t think it mattered much. They’re going to need a strong effort from McElhinney tonight or risk dropping their second game in a row. The Sabres are coming off a 5-1 win over the Devils in their last outing. It was only the second win in their previous six games. Get our free Sabres vs. Hurricanes pick below.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Carolina Hurricanes Pick
We’ve seen just about everything from the Sabres this season. It’s not even the second-half and I think they’ve given us a full season of action. They’ve been everywhere, from a ten-game winning streak to cold streaks and everything else in between. Buffalo have been on a cold streak against the Hurricanes, with losses in their last six meetings.
Their latest meeting came on December 23rd of 2017. The Hurricanes would love to catch the Sabres, who are currently in possession of the final playoff seed. Carolina sits 7 points behind Buffalo. The Sabres have had a positive goal differential this season, with +4 at 125 goals and 121 goals allowed.
Conversely, the Hurricanes are at -11 with 113 goals scored and 124 goals allowed. They may be kicking themselves for letting Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm walk. Skinner, who will be making his first trip to Carolina since joining the Sabres, leads the team with 29 goals.
Jack Eichel is top on the team with 49 points. Along with those two and Sam Reinhart, the Sabres have had a potent punch. They’ve been average on the road with a record of 9-9-2, but the Hurricanes have been average as well in Raleigh with a mark of 11-7-2.
They’ve scored 2.82 goals per game at home while allowing 2.64 goals per game. Before the Hurricanes beat the Sabres for six in a row, the Sabres were winners in four straight games. I think Buffalo is going to be able to turn the tide in that respect tonight.
They are getting the Hurricanes in the best spot possible, a night after having to play against the best team in the league. And that was a game they were close to winning in Tampa. I suspect the Hurricanes are going to be feeling a little defeated after going toe-to-toe with the Lightning last night and having to play immediately after. I don’t think they’re going to respond favourably. At the very least, I don’t believe the Canes should be this expensive. I’d opt for the Sabres and the better value on Friday night.