Two of the top three teams in the NHL square off on Saturday when the Carolina Hurricanes take on the Florida Panthers. Carolina defeated Florida on Thursday, 4-2.
Here you can find the best picks, news, and stats for this North Division battle at BB&T Center. Carolina is the favorite at -132. This according to PointsBet Sportsbook, which puts the odds Florida at +110 as the underdog.
Carolina will be without left wings Jordan Martinook and Brock McGinn. Defenseman Brady Skjei is listed as questionable for the Hurricanes. Goaltender Chris Driedger is listed as questionable for Florida as is left-wing Mason Marchment in the center Lucas Wallmark.
Special Teams Lift Carolina to Victory
Sebastian Aho scored two shorthanded goals and Carolina added a power-play goal to defeat Florida, 4-2. The two goals by Aho helped him to reach 20 on the season. Alex Nedeljikovic stopped 32 of 34 shots for the victory.
Carolina is 11th in goals per game at 3.17 and is 11th in shooting percentage at 9.8%. The Hurricanes are first on the power-play at 27.5%. With his 20 goals, Aho leads Carolina in goals and he is the leader in points with 43. Douglas Hamilton has 31 assists to lead the club and is third with 37 total points.
The Hurricanes are fourth in goals allowed per game at 2.35 and are fourth in penalty killing at 84.1%. Nedeljkovic has taken over the goaltending duties with Petr Mrazek out. The Carolina netminder is 12-4-2 with a 1.87 GAA and a .933 save percentage.
Power Play Struggles in Loss to Hurricanes
Florida had nine power-play opportunities against Carolina but came away with one goal while allowing two shorthanded tallies to their Hurricanes. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 25 of 28 shots in the loss. Aleksander Barkov scored two goals in a losing effort.
Florida is 10th in goals per game at 3.19 and is 18th in shooting percentage at 9.4%. The power-play is 13th in the NHL at 20.8%. Jonathan Huberdeau leads the team in scoring with 34 assists and 50 points. Barkov now leads Florida with 21 goals and is second with 48 total points.
The Panthers are 10th in goals allowed per game at 2.67 and are 16th in penalty killing at 79.4%. With Driedger still out, it will be Bobrovsky again. He is 17-8-2 with a 2.83 GAA and a .908 save percentage.
- 4-1 in their last five games.
- 9-3 in their last 12 games on the road
- 1-4 in their last five games as the underdog
- 2-5 in their last seven games when playing on one day’s rest.
While Florida has played well this season, they have had no answers for the Hurricanes. Carolina has defeated the Panthers six straight times and they are 14-3 in the last 17 meetings, including winning the last six in Florida. Until the Panthers can prove they can defeat the Hurricanes, there is no reason to go with them.
Pick: Take Carolina at -132.
These teams combined for six goals on Thursday and have gone over 5.5 goals in three of the last four meetings and in five of the seven games this season. They have gone over in four of the last six meetings in Florida. I think you see a game very similar to what we saw on Thursday, making the over the smart pick.
Pick: Go over 5.5 at -120.