In a game where someone has to win, the New Jersey Devils (10-13-4) travels south to face the Eastern Conference last place Carolina Hurricanes (8-15-3). The Devils have somewhat of an excuse for their sub.500 record as most of their games have been on the road, but Carolina has been simply awful. See who we like as our pick in this exciting matchup...
Ice time is set for tonight at 7:00 pm ET at the PNC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. The NHL odds at SBR currently list Carolina as a slight -108 betting favorite due to home ice and the total is listed at 5 goals.
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Before each and every hockey game that you bet on. check out or google the starting goalies. For this matchup, it's unconfirmed, but we're expecting to see Cory Schneider in net for the Devils and Cam Ward between the pipes for the Hurricanes.
One goal can make the difference in this game as your dealing with the 2 of the weakest offenses in the NHL. Carolina is averaging 1.92 goals per game in their last 12 while the Devils haven't been much better, averaging 2 goals per game in their last 10 games.
Cam Ward (8-9-1 2.51 GAA) has split time in net with Anton Khudobin and clearly the Hurricanes need Ward to start as Khudobin hasn't won a game all season in 8 attempts.
For the Devils, Schneider (10-12-3, 2.56 GAA ) has been the primary goalie and he's been average at best despite facing over 30 shots on goal per game. This matchup is a draw and the game will come down to the offenses which have been each team's Achilles heel all season long.
A major reason for the dropoff in offense for the Hurricanes has been the play of left winger, Jeff Skinner.
Last season, Skinner had a stellar season with 33 goals and 21 assists. In fact, Skinner has owned the Devils recently with 5 goals in his last 6 games facing New Jersey. This season, he's gotten off to a slow start with just 6 goals and 7 assists and a -4 plus/minus ratio. The Hurricanes desperately need Skinner to recapture some of that old magic when these two team have met before.
This is a team with winger and leading goal scorer in Jiri Tlusty, who has 10 goals on the season, but has managed just one goal at home. Defenseman, Justin Faulk, has done his best to set guys up (12 assists) and put pressure on the opposing goalie (72 shots on goal), but there's no Sidney Crosby on this team and clearly someone has to step up or this team will remain in the basement.
The Devils haven't been much better as this is a team that has shot themselves on the foot. While New Jersey has worked well on the power play (10th in the NHL), they haven't been able to kill many penalties as they rank near the bottom of the league (29th).
Although he's been cold of late, leading goal scorer, Adam Cammalerri, will be out of action and that even puts New Jersey at even more of a disadvantage.
Age Is Just a Number
Although he's not nearly the same player that he once was for the Pittsburgh Penguins or even the New York Rangers for that matter, Jaromir Jagr, who is a sure fire 1st ballot hall of famer, is still in the league and leads the Devils in points. Jagr has been more of a setup man (11 assists) but at 42 years old, this is a player that surely can play in this league. That said, he's not the goal scorer that he once was and hasn't scored a point in his last 3 games. Just like Carolina, the options are few and far between on the offensive end.
The odds are very low at 5 goals, but for good reason. With Cammalerri out of action, I'm inclined to lean towards the 'Under' with my NHL picks in this matchup of two teams that can't light the lamp.
NHL Pick: Carolina/New Jersey Under 5 at 5Dimes