It is Game 1 of the first-round matchup between the Nashville Predators and the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday. Nashville has won the last two meetings between these teams, but the Hurricanes were 6-2-0 against the Predators this season.
Here you can find the best picks, news, and stats for this Central Division playoff battle at the PNC Arena. Carolina is the favorite at -185. This according to PointsBet Sportsbook, which puts the odds for Nashville at +165 as the underdog.
The Predators are without Viktor Arvidsson, Mark Borowiecki, and Luca Sbisa. Carolina will be without Brock McGinn and Cedric Paquette. The Hurricanes have a slew of players listed as questionable, including Dougie Hamilton, Brett Pesce, Jaccob Slavin, Jordan Staal, and Andrei Svechnikov.
Predators Enter Playoffs Rolling
Nashville has been great in May. They enter the playoffs going 4-1-0 in the month and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. The Predators have been solid on the road at 13-13-2 and would have to feel concerned about this matchup had they not beaten the Hurricanes in the last two meetings.
The Predators averaged 2.7 goals per game, 21st overall, and were 23rd in power play at 17.6%. Roman Josi is the team leader in points but has just 33 in 46 games. He leads in assists with 26. The team leaders in goals are Calle Jarnkrok and Mikael Granlund, who each have 13 goals.
Nashville is allowing 2.8 goals per game, 11th, and they are 29th in penalty killing at 75.4%. Pekka Rinne will likely get the start for Nashville. He is 10-12-1 with a 2.84 GAA and a .907 save percentage. It would not be a surprise if Juuse Saros did go. He is 21-11-1 with a 2.28 GAA and a .927 save percentage.
Hurricanes Struggling Entering Post-Season
Carolina lost three straight games entering the post-season, going (0-2-1) including losing two games to Nashville to close out the year. Carolina still finished with the top record in the Central Division and are 20-3-5 at home this season.
Carolina is fourth in goals allowed per contest at 2.4 and third in penalty killing at 85.2%. Petr Mrazek has returned and will lead this team in the playoffs. He is 6-2-3 with a 2.08 GAA and a .923 save percentage. Mrazek was hammered in his last start, giving up five goals on 27 shots.
Carolina is averaging 3.1 goals per game, 11th overall, and second on the power play at 25.6%. Sebastian Aho leads the Hurricanes with 24 goals, 33 assists, and 67 points. He has a substantial lead over the next leading scorer, Vincent Trocheck with 43 points.
- 2-5 in their last seven games when playing on three day’s rest.
- 7-17 in their last 24 games against teams with a winning record.
- 20-8 in their last 28 games at home.
- 10-4 in their last 14 games against teams with a winning record.
Predators fans are probably enthusiastic about the team beating the Hurricanes in the last two contests, however, it is likely that Carolina took their foot off the gas with that top spot secured. Carolina won six straight games against Nashville before that. The Hurricanes are on a mission and they have the superior team. They will take a 1-0 lead.
Pick: Take Carolina at -185.
These teams have gone under in five of the last six meetings and have gone under in five of the last six meetings in Carolina. These teams have combined for five or fewer goals in each of the last four games, but I look for this to be a statement game for the Hurricanes. They are the superior team on both ends of the rink and they will dominate this contest.
Pick: Go over 5.0 goals at -147.