NHL Predictions: Red Wings at Hurricanes Odds and Picks
by Alan Matthews - 10/4/2013
I am batting 1.000 on my NHL picks so far this early season, so why mess with success: I'll stick to the team that worked out well for me in the season opener, the Detroit Red Wings. OK, that's not really the reason why I will look at Friday's Red Wings-Hurricanes matchup. There are six games on Friday, and four of them involve teams that also play Thursday night. I will always try to avoid picking a game where the team plays the night before. For one, there aren't always lines on those situations. Second, obviously an injury could occur or the starting goalie could get the second of a back-to-back off.
Detroit opened the season with a 2-1 win at Buffalo, so I also hit on the “under”. As usual, I will recommend the under for at least 90 percent of the games this season. Scoring is supposed to increase with the goalie leg pads streamlined a bit, but I am not buying it. If you care, per NHL.com, a goalie's leg pads can't go higher on his leg than 45 percent of the distance between the center of his knee and pelvis. The pads can go no higher than nine inches above the knee for goalies with an upper-leg measurement of 20 inches, which is roughly the average number for goalies in the NHL. In addition, the goal frames were trimmed by four inches on each side, taking eight inches off the entire width of the bottom frame. Why would this potentially boost scoring? It is theorized this will lead to more wrap-around goals and perhaps that puckhandlers will be able to utilize additional space with passes from behind the net. Maybe these moves are working. Four of the six games played through Wednesday were over the total. Two teams, the Blackhawks and Avalanche, scored six goals in their openers.
Red Wings at Hurricanes Betting Story Lines
The Wings got goals from Pavel Datsyuk and Mikael Samuelsson 36 seconds apart in the first period, and Jimmy Howard made it stand up on Wednesday in the Red Wings' debut as an Eastern Conference team. Samuelsson played in only four games last year due to injury. Detroit killed off seven Sabres penalties, including more than two minutes of a 5-and-3. The Wings outshot Buffalo 34-20. New Red Wings Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss, who were together on the second line, combined for nearly 30 minutes of ice time and four shots. Weiss was a terrific 9 of 13 on faceoffs.
Carolina finished last season 19-25-4 for 42 points, the third-fewest in the Eastern Conference. Only Florida, the worst team in the NHL, had fewer than the Hurricanes' nine home wins. It was the fourth straight season Carolina missed the playoffs since losing in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals. Carolina actually was in first place in the old Southeast Division before No. 1 goaltender Cam Ward suffered a season-ending injury. Things went downhill fast.
It was almost a devastating offseason for Carolina as captain Eric Staal nearly suffered a career-threatening knee injury during May's world hockey quarterfinals in Stockholm. He was fortunate, at least the way it looked, to only have a third-degree sprain of his medial collateral ligament. Staal avoided surgery and had a few months of rehab. Staal, 28, has missed only 14 games during nine NHL seasons and led the Hurricanes with 35 assists and 53 points last year.
The news wasn't so good for top defenseman Joni Pitkanen. He suffered a broken heel bone on April 2 against Washington and will miss this entire season as well. He had nine points and was plus-2 in 22 games last year. He was second on the team in average ice team at 22:49 per game.
There are other injury concerns. Defenseman Tim Gleason suffered a concussion in the preseason and will sit this game out. Right wing Tuomo Ruutu is on the injured reserve list, missing the final two preseason games. On the bright side, Jeff Skinner and Alexander Semin returned to practice this week from various injuries and both should play. Semin skates on the No. 1 line with Staal and Jiri Tlusty. Semin was second to Stall with 44 points last year and finished plus-14. The No. 1 line combined for 135 points last season, but there's not much behind it.
Red Wings at Hurricanes NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BookMaker, the Red Wings are -120 and the Hurricanes even with a total of 5.5. The Red Wings are 6-2 in their last eight when scoring two goals or fewer in their previous game. The Hurricanes are 6-20 in their past 26 games and 2-10 in their past 12 at home. Carolina is 1-10 when its opponent allows two goals or fewer in its previous game. The under is 9-2-7 in Detroit's past 18 road games. The “over” is 5-0-1 in Carolina's past six home games. The home team has won five of the past six meetings.
NHL Predictions: Red Wings at Hurricanes Betting Picks
Because of the lockout, the teams haven't played since the Wings beat the Hurricanes 5-4 on March 24, 2012. Carolina doesn't look like a very good team -- it is a 16/1 long shot with Columbus and New Jersey at Bovada to win the Metropolitan Division. That the Wings have a game under their belts is an advantage. Plus, Ward seems to be trending down in his career. Detroit and the under it is.
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