Carolina Hurricanes (36-23-7) at Nashville Predators (39-25-5)
NHL Hockey: Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 8pm (Bridgestone Arena)
Line and Odds: -1.5–Over/Under: 166
NHL Picks and Parlays Nashville Predators vs. Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes have been a very streaky team lately which will only add more drama as the NHL season comes to an end. Their record is 36-24-7 and they hold the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Currently, the Hurricanes and Canadiens hold the two Wild Card spots as they both have 79 points apiece. To complicate matters, the Columbus Blue Jackets have 77 points and are only two points away from catching both the Canadiens and the Hurricanes. If a few games go the wrong way for the Hurricanes, they may find themselves at home these playoffs instead of competing. The Hurricanes should be motivated tonight not just because of their playoff hopes, but because of the ugly loss they suffered in their last game.
The Hurricanes were thrashed 8-1 by Winnipeg yesterday. Granted, Winnipeg is a stronger team than Carolina, but for their own pride the Hurricanes should come out swinging tonight. The strength of the Hurricanes this season has been their ability to limit opposing teams scoring opportunities as they rank 9th in the NHL in goals against, only giving up an average of 2.78 goals/game. The irony of the Hurricanes is that despite them having an average scoring offense, they lead the NHL in shot attempts averaging 34.7 shots/game. The biggest challenge for the Hurricanes this season and moving forward into the playoffs is finding a way to convert more of their attempted shots into goals. Led by Sebastian Aho, they have a chance to put the puzzle pieces together offensively tonight against the Nashville Predators.
The Predators are sitting comfortably in 2nd place in the Central Division; they are five points ahead of the St. Louis Blues, but they are only one point behind the Winnipeg Jets for 1st in the division. Like the Hurricanes, the Predators offense leaves more to be desired, but they have a strong defense. In fact, the Predators scoring defense is even better than the Hurricanes as they rank 5th in goals against. With the recent acquisition of Wayne Simmonds from the Philadelphia Flyers, the Predators hope that his presence will bolster their offense as they continue to chase the Jets. Moreover, Simmonds feisty behavior may prove to infuse a renewed energy and competitiveness into the Predators that will serve them in the twilight of the season.
If the Predators are able to focus on the task at hand, their game tonight is winnable. The Hurricanes are on the back end of a back-to-back and are reeling after an ugly loss to the Jets. A colossal loss like the one the Hurricanes just experienced can be disheartening to a team and set them on a path of regression which the Predators can exploit. If Simmonds is able to lift the Predators’ offense to new heights as they hoped then the Predators will not just be dangerous tonight against the Hurricanes, but they will be an even greater threat to the rest of the NHL.
NHL Betting Trends:
Carolina is 14-6 ATS in its last 20 games
Carolina is 11-4 SU in its last 15 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Carolina’s last 5 games
Nashville is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Nashville’s last 7 games
Nashville is 1-7 ATS in its last 8 games at home
Free NHL Expert Picks Carolina Hurricanes vs. Nashville Predators
With the uneasiness of their position in the standings combined with their recent blowout loss as well as their tough back-to-back match-ups, I do not believe the Hurricanes have it within them to will themselves to a victory tonight against the Predators. In addition to being an overall better team, the Predators are also stronger than the Hurricanes at defense which is known to be the focal point of the Hurricanes team. The Predators’ offense should be better with the addition of Simmonds and he should provide the offense a necessary spark when needed. With all of these factors in play, it is very hard to pick against the Nashville Predators to win this game.
PICK: Nashville Predators -1.5