Carolina Hurricanes (40-26-7) vs Minnesota Wild (35-31-9)
Petr Mrazek (19-13-3) vs Devan Dubnyk (29-25-6)
NHL Hockey Saturday March 23 7:00pm Eastern (PNC Arena)
Line and Odds: Carolina -180 Over/Under — 5.5
FREE NHL Score Carolina Hurricanes vs Minnesota Wild
In the frenzy of March Madness, the NHL is rounding the corner on it’s regular season and is rounding out its playoff competitors. Two of those competitors face off tonight as the Hurricanes look to hold their seeding and the Wild look to break their way back into the playoff picture. Carolina’s last game was a rough defeat at the hands of the league-best Lightning where the Canes went into the second intermission with a 3-2 lead but then allowed Tampa to nearly double their shot total in the third and score four unanswered goals for a 6-3 loss. The Wild grinded out a win last night in Washington, beating them 2-1 and putting themselves into the 8 seed in the west for the time being. This is the second and final match-up between these sides (barring a Stanley Cup Final).
Carolina has fallen out of the divisional playoff spots due to fewer games played than their counterparts but two wins would put them even with Pittsburgh at 91 points and give them the tie-breaker on ROW (unless both wins were in the shootout). The Hurricanes have been swallowing points up, securing at least a point in 10 of their last 13 games and are 14-4-2 on the road since the new year began. They are one of only four teams with 20 wins both on home and away ice.
Part of Carolina’s success in 2019 is due to their opponent tonight as the trading of Victor Rask for Nino Niederreiter has paid its dividends with Nino scoring 12 goals in his 27 games with Carolina after potting nine in 46 games as a member of the Wild. He has also already surpassed his point total with Minnesota, making him a near PPG player with the Canes. Goalie Petr Mrazek has also stepped his game up, accumulating a 7-1 record in his last 8 where the only loss game due to the team in front of him getting shut out.
The Wild continue their season of streaks and swings, putting themselves back into a playoff spot after a losing streak took them out after a winning streak before that had them in after another losing streak had left them out prior. It is exhausting to read and probably more-so to live out, but the Wild have a chance to do what they do best, make the post season by a slim margin and be a prime candidate to get bounced in the first round. This Wild team is not much different than its past iterations as they rely way too heavily on elite goal-tending. Devan Dubnyk has been tasked with most starts and minutes in the league and has had to account for 29 of the team’s 35 wins or 83% of them. Only Vancouver’s Jakob Markstrom has accounted for a higher percentage of his club’s wins.
Minnesota has to take care of their own destiny if they want their chance at the Cup as they already have more game splayed than their competition and must play 5 current playoff teams and have a huge match-up in Arizona a week from Sunday.
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Carolina’s last 6 games at home
Carolina is 12-5 SU in its last 17 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Carolina’s last 5 games when playing Minnesota
Carolina is 3-8 SU in its last 11 games when playing Minnesota
The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Minnesota’s last 17 games
Minnesota is 10-1 ATS in its last 11 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Minnesota’s last 9 games on the road
Minnesota is 3-7 SU in its last 10 games when playing on the road against Carolina
FREE NHL Prediction Minnesota Wild vs Carolina Hurricanes
This match carries a lot of weight for both sides but will be decided by Minnesota’s desperation and intensity. They did a fine job last night keeping a high flying Capitals team down to just 22 shots and must do the same again tonight. Both teams have been fond of the under more often than not this season and I see that continuing unless one side dominates heavily. The Wild have been a better team on the road so I think they will be able to mitigate the normal home ice advantage but I think the back to back will cause some tired legs and Carolina’s superior talent will bring them to victory.
PICK: Carolina -180