NHL Odds, Pick & Preview: Hurricanes vs. Penguins (Sunday, Feb. 20)
Darcy Finley/Getty Images. Pictured: Frederik Andersen
- Carolina and Pittsburgh get the NHL Sunday slate started with a Metropolitan Division matchup.
- The Penguins are -130 favorites and sit tied with the Hurricanes at 70 points in the division.
- Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.
Hurricanes vs. Penguins Odds
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Carolina will head to PPG Paints Arena for a showdown with the Penguins, with first spot in the Metropolitan Division hanging in the balance as both enter with 70 points.
Having played three less games, however, the Hurricanes hold a better winning percentage, yet they enter this one as a road underdog, despite having played to a dominant 16-7-2 mark playing as the visitor. Pittsburgh is one of the league's elite, but is such a price fair?
Hurricanes Seek Playoff-Like Road Win
After a tough overtime loss to arguably the East's best team in the Florida Panthers on Wednesday, the Canes bounced back with a strong win over a desperate Nashville team Friday, carrying more of the play in a game they never trailed for a 5-3 final.
Carolina has continued to produce very steady play as of late, with a 6-2-2 mark over its last 10, with a 51.90 xGF%.
The Canes haven't been as outright dominant as we have come to expect the last two seasons with regards to game play. They have produced those strong results while almost seeming to be in somewhat of a midseason lull some nights.
This will offer a huge spot for the Canes to put together a big effort in something closer to a playoff atmosphere. I could see this group, which is very ready to prove it can win on a bigger stage, rising to the challenge here.
Carolina holds the league's seventh best powerplay, with the league's top-ranked penalty-killing unit and a tremendous goaltender in Frederik Andersen.
At 5-on-5 some pieces have fallen into a scoring lull, but I still feel that the roster holds a lot of players capable of providing secondary scoring outside of its top talents in Sebastien Aho, Andrei Svechnikov and Teuvo Teravainen.
The Canes will likely be without Vincent Trocheck for this contest, but they should be at full health aside from that loss.
We should see Andersen get the start here, looking to build on a spectacular start to the season which has seen him thrive behind Carolina's strong defensive play, posting a .927 save % and 24.8 goals saved above expected rating throughout 35 games played this season.
Penguins Ready for Measuring-Stick Game
Pittsburgh will enter this one looking to put together a much better effort, having been bested 4-1 by the Leafs, going down a goal just 21 seconds in.
The Penguins have seen excellent performances from a number of pieces beyond their double-headed monster down the middle in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, such as Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel, as well as strong defensive play and great goaltending altogether.
This contest offers a great measuring stick to see where they are at against a true cup contender in the Hurricanes. This year is quite likely the last real shot with this core led by Crosby, Malkin and Letang, which has been so wildly successful.
Similar to Andersen who will be at the other end, Tristan Jarry has thrived this season behind the Penguins' strong team defensive play, owning a .923 save % and a +13.9 goals saved above expected rating throughout 40 games played this season.
Hurricanes vs. Penguins Pick
My belief is that Carolina offers the most complete team in the Metropolitan Division. Big picture I prefer its roster's potential this season over the Penguins, so given that it is entering this one as an underdog at +110, I see value backing them to get the win, and would back Carolina down to -105.
The last time Carolina entered such a meaningful game with first in the division on the line, its trounced the Rangers, 6-3, in a game it thoroughly controlled. Although I'm sure this one won't come that easily, I do feel this is a pick'em compared to what this current number suggests.
The Canes play a very well-structured defensive game, with an excellent goaltender in Frederik Andersen and great special teams. The secondary scoring has hit somewhat of a lull, but I still think the bodies are there to turn it around, and altogether their complete makeup surely allows them a chance to beat any competition this league can offer, such as the mighty Penguins.
Pittsburgh is in solid form itself and offers a strong lineup, but I see this one as closer to a pick'em. I lean towards Carolina to find a way to claim two points in this big showdown, which will likely be tightly contested and a well-played affair.
Pick: Carolina Hurricanes Moneyline +110 | Play to -105