Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:45 PM EST.
7:05 PM EST. OT included. Perhaps it’s time to start looking at the Hurricanes again after another half a season of underachieving. For years, goaltending has been the ‘Canes Achilles Heel but things are looking up with Curtis McElhinney providing stability and Petr Mrazek slowly started to get his swag back.
At one point this year, Carolina’s 12-9-4 record wasn’t impressive, but the team’s underlying numbers were and chances seemed good that their 975 PDO wasn’t going to last. In December the team went 4-8-1 despite a still sterling 54% possession rate and wouldn’t you know it, their PDO actually dropped to 960 for the month. Every year the Hurricanes look like they’ll finally put it all together and every year they fall flat on their face. There is no team more frustrating but again, it’s mostly because of weak goaltending.
The lowest 5-on-5 shooting percentage in a season since 2007-08 is 5.7 percent by Arizona in 2014-15, one of three sub-six percent seasons. Carolina is looking to join that club, currently sitting at 5.5 percent. If Carolina scored at just last year’s rate, an already woefully inept seven percent, the team would have scored 17 more goals this season. That’s worth about three wins, enough to put Carolina in the thick of the playoff race. On the power play the team is at 8.8 percent (for context, seven teams score more often at 5-on-5) and would have scored another five goals with last year’s also poor mark of 11 percent. That’s another win and would give Carolina about 45 points in 38 games, a 97-point pace. Analytics say that Carolina is unlucky and it also strongly suggests how horrific the team is at finishing. It’s not to say anyone expects average shooting from Carolina, it’s that even if you expect last year’s terrible efficiency rates, the team should still be in the playoff mix. That the Hurricanes have been this bad at converting shots to goals, especially given how good their shot locations are is truly mind-boggling.
With stable goaltending comes more confidence from everyone. Players aren’t afraid to make a mistake and they don’t feel like every scoring chance is a vital one. We’re suggesting that poor goaltending is correlated to everything else that happens on the ice. The ‘Canes are a possession monster, like Vegas, Tampa Bay, San Jose and Nashville and as long as their goaltending is just average, they are going to win a lot more games. As a dog at home, we’ll put that to the test here.
Open an account today at and take advantage of their -104 style pricing on sides and totals, which is 60% better than other sportsbooks.
CAROLINA +101 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.02)