New Jersey Devils (30-40-10) at Carolina Hurricanes (44-29-7)
NHL Hockey: Thursday, April 4, 2019 7:00PM EST (PNC Arena)
Moneyline: New Jersey +235, Carolina -290, Puckline: New Jersey +1.5, Carolina -1.5, Over/Under: 6
Free NHL Pick: New Jersey Devils vs. Carolina Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes and New Jersey Devils find themselves on opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of motivation to pick up a win. This is not the season New Jersey was hoping for, after riding the Taylor Hall express to a wild card spot in the playoffs last year, the Devils found themselves without their primary point scorer for nearly half the 2018-2019 season. Not only are they not going back to the NHL playoffs, the Devils find themselves in dead last in the Eastern Conference’s Metropolitan Division. The Carolina Hurricane find themselves with some momentum coming into this crucial matchup, having won 6 of their last 10, and on the cusp of securing a wild card playoff birth.
New Jersey Devils
The rebuilding Devils come into Thursdays game without much to play for. Dead last in the Metropolitan, but still too far ahead of Ottawa to claim the rights to “Lose for Hughes”, New Jersey is a dreadful team that sincerely misses its star, Taylor Hall. Since Hall’s injury, the Devils have slumped to 24th in scoring offense just one year removed from being a top 15 offense. Sloppy goaltending hasn’t helped the sputtering offense lately either, as the Devils currently rank 25th in goals against, with their top 2 netminders both posting a GAA above 3.0.
The Devils are currently in 29th place in the NHL, 8 points ahead of the Ottawa Senators, with 2 games to go and no way to fall behind them in the standings. New Jersey stands to gain more from losing this game, however, as they are just one point ahead of the 30th place Los Angeles Kings.
The Hurricanes find themselves in familiar territory late in the season: On the brink of securing a playoff berth and ending the NHL’s longest active playoff drought. In the 9 seasons since their last appearance, the ‘Canes have come close on a number of occasions to sneaking into the playoffs, only to find themselves playing their way out late in the season. This is the closes Carolina has been to the postseason since finishing in 9th place in 2011. With a win here against New Jersey, they would need to lose their final game on the road against Philadelphia in regulation and Columbus would have to go 2-0 in their remaining games for the ‘Canes to not make the postseason.
We weren’t really sure what to expect out of this Carolina team coming into the season, as they had been last seasons preseason darlings before flaming out towards the end of the regular season. Getting rid of one of their top goal-scorers in Jeff Skinner and bringing in former player Rod Brind’Amour as new head coach seemed like a risky bet, putting lots of pressure on Carolina’s staunch young defense, but the Hurricanes D has more than met the task, ranking 7th in the league in goals against, with just 217. Their offense has even looked better at times this season too, ranking in the top half of the league in goals scored.
Cover the Spread 365 Betting Trends
New Jersey is 5-12 SU in its last 17 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of New Jersey’s last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of New Jersey’s last 6 games when playing Carolina
Carolina is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games
Carolina is 16-8 SU in its last 24 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Carolina’s last 6 games
ESPN NHL Scores Carolina Hurricanes vs. New Jersey Devils
This game seems ripe for an upset to me. How many times have we seen the ‘Canes have their destiny in their own hands, only to squander it late in the season with inexplicable losses? Carolina still has a two point edge over Columbus heading into Thursday, so a loss doesn’t knock Carolina out but it makes the last game of the season must win. Getting even a point in this game would go a long way in controlling their fate into the last day of the NHL’s regular season. New Jersey has historically done very well in PNC Arena and while I’m not going to pick the game straight up, I have a feeling the Devils might pick up a close win (think: overtime) in this game. The total has gone under in 4 of the Devils last 5, and under in 5 of the ‘Canes last 6. Smart money says when the o/u is at 6 in a game against the #15 and #24 ranked offenses, take the under.
Pick: Under 6