Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Patrice Bergeron.
Hurricanes vs. Bruins Odds
|Odds for hurricanes||+125|
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The Carolina Hurricanes are having a tough time and it’s not getting any easier as they head to Boston to take on the Bruins. The Hurricanes lost 4-0 to the Coyotes and are in the middle of a four-game losing streak.
Before losing to the Panthers, the Bruins were on a seven-game winning streak. That being said, they are still the hottest team in the league and should not be taken lightly.
Will the Carolinas be able to get out of the skid or will the Bruins kick them while they’re losing?
When you think of the Hurricanes, the first player that probably comes to mind is Sebastian Aho. Although Aho is having a great season (averaging over a point per game), he is not the team’s top scorer. This title belongs to Martin Nekas, who scored 24 points in 20 games. Behind them, Andrey Svechnikov also scored a point per game, and rookie Brent Burns proved to be a solid player for a team that needed the presence of a veteran on the blue line. However, the problem was that elite playmaker Teuvo Teravainen was out due to injury.
The Hurricanes are a charming team because they are the elite, even if they are evenly matched. They are second in expected goals with an xGF of 58.99% and eighth in chances. However, their special commands are terrible. The Hurricanes are third in powerplay scoring with 14.3%.
Karolina has one of the best defenses at 2.15 xGA/60, but she had problems with penalties. As the Hurricanes iron out their weaknesses, they are succeeding with a below-average 78%.
Freddie Andersen is out of the game (injury), all eyes are on Antti Raanta and Petr Kochetkov. Since Kochetkov started on Wednesday, I see the veteran Raant start against the Bruins. Raanta started his season rather disappointingly, playing just -0.3 goals higher than expected (GSAx) and 0.902% SV%.
Take a look at this list and tell me it’s not difficult. The perfection line includes David Pastrnak, captain Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, all of whom are averaging a point per game. Behind them, defenseman Hampus Lindholm, who Boston acquired last year on deadline, is having the best start of his career with 19 points in 20 games.
Boston has probably the strongest teams in the league. His tie numbers are in the elite with the fifth best expected goal rate (55.89 xGF%). On top of that, the Bruins have the third-best powerplay with 30% points.
Unsurprisingly, the Bruins are one of the best defensively at equal strength, playing up to 2.16 xGA/60. Even in the penalty kill, they are in second place, succeeding almost 90% of the time.
Linus Ullmark has gotten most of the starts for the Bruins, and it’s no wonder why. The eight-year veteran has the best start of his career, playing up to +8.6 GSAx and 0.935 SV%. If coach Jim Montgomery wants to give him a break, Jeremy Swainman isn’t a bad option either, playing down to -0.4 GSAx with 0.885 SV%. However, he played in Florida so I see Ullmark getting the nod.
Hurricanes vs. Bruins Peak
It’s very difficult to support the Hurricanes here, especially after a bad game against the Coyotes. Plus, the Bruins haven’t lost in a row this season, and I can imagine they’re less than thrilled about Wednesday’s loss.
With the absence of Freddie Andersen, goalkeeping, as well as penalties, have become a clear weakness for Carolina. If the Hurricanes find themselves in the box a few times, there could be problems. The Bruins are one of the strongest teams in the league and they have a deadly powerplay, so I’ll be waiting for the Bruins to win on the first team.
To choose: Boston Bruins 60-minute line (+200)