NHL Odds, Picks: Hurricanes vs. Maple Leafs Preview & Betting Prediction (Friday, March 17)
Pictured: Martin Necas #88 of the Carolina Hurricanes. (Photo by Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images)
- The Carolina Hurricanes head north to face the Toronto Maple Leafs in what should be a thrilling Friday night game.
- So who has the edge in this battle among the Eastern Conference's elite?
- Carol Schram answers that question and provides her best bet below.
Hurricanes vs. Maple Leafs Odds
|Maple Leafs Odds||-130|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Get set for a clash of the titans as the Carolina Hurricanes make their only visit of the year to Scotiabank Arena and face the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday night.
Both teams will be playing the opening leg of back-to-back sets, which will impact their coaches’ lineup decisions.
Additionally, Toronto is looking to snap a two-game skid while wrapping up a four-game homestand. Carolina will be kicking off a three-game road trip.
Here’s the latest on both teams, and your best bet for Friday’s game.
The big news out of Carolina this week is that Andrei Svechnikov tore his ACL this week and is out for the season.
It’s a big loss for a team already without Max Pacioretty.
The Hurricanes are also dealing with a couple of shorter-term injuries. Goaltender Antti Raanta and depth defenseman Jalen Chatfield have both missed the past four games.
Chatfield practiced with the team Thursday and coach Rod Brind’Amour said he’s hoping to get Chatfield back into the lineup this weekend — though that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll play Friday.
Since Raanta went down, Frederik Andersen and Pyotr Kochetkov have been alternating starts in net. If that pattern holds, it’ll be Kochetkov’s turn against the Leafs. The 23-year-old rookie is an impressive 11-5-5 with a .915 save percentage this season.
However, Carolina has had trouble putting the puck in the net lately. Prior to beating Winnipeg on Wednesday, the Hurricanes had scored just one goal in their previous three games and were coming off back-to-back shutout losses.
The Hurricanes rank 12th offensively, averaging 3.30 goals per game, but their real strength is on the defensive side of the puck, where they sit just behind Boston with 2.52 goals allowed per game. Their special teams are solid and they lead the NHL with a 60.06% expected goal share at 5-on-5. For what it’s worth, they’ve been slightly above that rate over their past 10 games.
Carolina made two moves of note at the trade deadline, acquiring forward Jesse Puljujarvi and defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere. Puljujarvi is pointless in three games, while Gostisbehere has four points in seven games.
Toronto Maple Leafs
As for the Leafs, they were busy heading into the deadline. Ryan O’Reilly quickly found his way onto the injured list, but fellow forwards Noel Acciari and Sam Lafferty have locked up spots in coach Sheldon Keefe’s 11-and-7 system. On the back end, Jake McCabe has been steady, Erik Gustafsson has been in and out of the lineup, and rugged veteran Luke Schenn looks set to return to action Friday after missing four games due to the birth of his third child.
The Leafs are one of the best teams in the NHL on home ice this season (24-7-5), but are also just 1-1-1 on their current homestand.
Keefe didn’t reveal his goalie plan for the weekend at practice Thursday, but did say he’d split the starts. Ilya Samsonov had a strong outing against Colorado on Wednesday and was the first goalie off the ice at Thursday’s practice, so that could mean that he’ll get the nod against Carolina. He’s 17-2-2 on home ice this season and has 14.2 goals saved above expected on the year.
Hurricanes vs. Maple Leafs Pick
Friday’s game will be the second of three meetings between these teams this season. The Leafs earned a 3-1 road win back in November, but have had trouble pulling their game together since making their trade-deadline acquisitions. Toronto is 3-3-1 in March.
The Hurricanes have been struggling to score lately, but five goals against the Winnipeg Jets in their most recent outing suggests they’re moving on after the shock of losing Svechnikov. As plus-money underdogs, the Hurricanes are too good a team to discount in this matchup.
Take the value and back the road side in Toronto on Friday night.
Pick: Hurricanes Moneyline | Play Down to +100
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