January 19, 2017

NHL Hockey Betting: Pittsburgh Penguins at Carolina Hurricanes

NHL Hockey Betting:  Pittsburgh Penguins at Carolina Hurricanes&h=253&w=372&zc=1

The Pittsburgh Penguins are in third place in the Metropolitan Division at the moment and although they’re playing well (7-3-0 L10) they’re not playing as well as the surging Washington Capitals (9-0-1) and are thus losing ground. There’s also the Columbus Blue Jackets–they’ve cooled off lately but they’re tied for first place with Washington at the moment. Pittsburgh is 3 points back of the co-leaders and 4 points up on the slumping New York Rangers. Coming off of back to back wins over Washington and Montreal they face a tricky road game against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes have been playing fairly well lately (6-4-0 L10)but they’ve been extremely strong at home all season long–they’ve got a home record of 15-4-1. Their 4 regulation home losses is fewer than any team in the NHL other than Pittsburgh’s 19-2-2 home ice record. The ‘canes are in sixth place two points ahead of New Jersey and 1 point back of fifth place Philadelphia. That point is important–the final wildcard qualifier in the Eastern Conference has 50 points.

Cam Ward will be in net for Carolina as he is just about every night. With backup Eddie Lack sidelined due to a concussion and not expected back anytime soon Ward has been a workhorse and a steadying force. He’s started all but 6 games this season and has a decent statline with a record of 18-13-6 off of a 2.42 goals against average, a 0.912 save percentage and two shutouts. He’ll likely be back in net on Saturday night as the Hurricanes travel to Columbus and again on Monday when they play at Washington. The only other goaltending option is 35 year old Michael Leighton who has two starts this season. The goaltending situation in Carolina has been so bad that equipment manager Jorge Alves served as an emergency backup for one game.

Pittsburgh will go with Matt Murray in this game–he’s struggled at points this season but is coming off a nice 4-1 win at Montreal. Carolina isn’t an ‘easy out’ at home but at some point the workload will likely impact Cam Ward’s performance. With two tough games on deck this game is easy to overlook for Carolina and the Penguins should be able to steal the win.