NHL Picks: Back The Road Dog In Devils vs. Hurricanes Game

Swinging Johnson

Sunday, March 27, 2016 4:56 PM GMT

Metropolitan Division rivals clash as the Devils travel to Carolina hoping to keep their fading playoff hopes alive. Let's see what the NHL odds makers are hanging on this game.

New Jersey Devils (36-39 SU, +5.8 units)
The Devils have not been mathematically eliminated from postseason contention but the patient is on life support and the plug could be pulled any day depending upon their vital signs when they hit the ice. Every game is crucial for New Jersey as they enter today's meeting with Carolina, trailing Philadelphia and Detroit by five points for the final wild card berth in the Eastern Conference. New Jersey has played well over their last three games with wins over Columbus and Pittsburgh and a 1-0 overtime loss against the best in the league this year, the Washington Capitals.

If there is a silver lining in the bleak outlook for the Devils it has to be the play of rookie goalie Scott Wedgewood who was called up after starter Corey Schneider was injured earlier this month. New Jersey had backup Keith Kincaid and third-stringer Yann Danis but both struggled in the absence of Schneider. Thus the call was made to send the 34-year-old Danis back to the farm and bring up young gun Scott Wedgewood. That decision has proven to be a wise one as Wedgewood has allowed just two goals in three starts for a 0.66 GAA and a .978 save percentage.

 

Carolina Hurricanes (32-43 SU, -9.5 units)
If the Devils are on life support then the Hurricanes are in the same room and with the same equipment keeping them breathing. After 75 games Carolina has amassed 79 points versus 80 for New Jersey and both reside in the bottom of the Metropolitan Division with only Columbus below them. It has been a disappointing season for the Hurricanes and its fans, and their recent spate of games has done nothing to assuage those hurt feelings. The Hurricanes lost five consecutive games, all by one goal except a 4-2 loss in Pittsburgh, before they defeated the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets by the score of 3-2 on Thursday night.

But things returned to the disappointing normal last night as the Hurricanes lost 4-3 in overtime to the Islanders, despite tallying all three goals in the second period. Though the 'Canes earned a point in the overtime loss, those that backed them in their NHL picks received no such consolation prize. When factoring in the money line, and despite Carolina often being installed as an NHL odds underdog, the team has cost their backers 9.5 units on the season.

 

Betting Analysis
This will be the fifth and final meeting between the teams this season with each having won a pair. Neither offense strikes fear into the hearts of goaltenders which is why the 'under' may also be a wise play in this one. Carolina's scoring attack is ranked 25th while the Devils are dead last in that category averaging only 2.2 goals per game. But while both offenses are anemic, at least the Devils have a solid defensive corps and may have found lightning in a bottle in young netminder Scott Wedgewood.

The Hurricanes are reeling and though they have lost the vast majority of goals by only one goal, the fact is they lose. Conversely the Devils battled the Capitals into overtime and held that prolific offense scoreless until the overtime frame. While neither team is likely to get an invitation to the postseason party, we can clearly see that the Devils seem to have gotten a boost from an unlikely source in Scott Wedgewood. Let's back the road dog here.

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Free NHL Pick: New Jersey +118
Best Line Offered:  at Heritage