NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Hurricanes vs. Wild (Dec. 14)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Ryan Hartman
Editor’s Note: Tuesday’s game between the Wild and Hurricanes has been postponed.
Hurricanes vs. Wild Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
Carolina heads to St. Paul on Tuesday night for a highly entertaining bout between two team’s with realistic Stanley Cup aspirations.
Minnesota suffered a tough road loss in Vegas Sunday night, falling 6-4 to a Knights team starting to show the dominant form once expected now skating at near full health.
Carolina suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the now red-hot Canucks, playing short its clear best skater and No. 1 center in Sebastien Aho, and will look to build on its stellar road record as it closes out a five-game trip here.
Hurricanes Showcase Superlative Depth
Many of Carolina’s Metropolitan division foes have seen awful injury and/or COVID situations this season, and it appears that the Hurricanes are going to get an opportunity to continue to show off their strong organizational depth. Although Brett Pesce and Tony DeAngelo could finally return from COVID protocol absences, Aho and Seth Jarvis will stay on the list.
Aho’s dynamic offensive play has powered the Hurricanes of late, and his play was notably absent against Vancouver, with Rod Brind’Amour scuffling through a number of line shake-ups throughout the contest trying to get something to click.
Seth Jarvis’s absence will be missed as well, as he’s begun to display more of the intelligent in-zone offensive play that made him a highly touted 13th overall selection in the 2020 draft.
Undoubtedly Carolina have some strong offensive depth behind those pieces, but Aho is the most notable absence.
The Hurricanes will likely see two excellent defenders return to the lineup, as both DeAngelo and Pesce will be eligible to return. The two offer notable upside on the back-end, however, we have seen a number of players over the last year and a half struggle to immediately re-find top game form after longer stints on the COVID list.
We should see Frederik Andersen return to the starter’s role here after resting Sunday against Vancouver, and he has been excellent this season for the Canes, posting a .930 save % and a +14.1 goals saved above expected rating (GSAx).
Wild Strong On Home Ice
Under coach Dean Evason, Minnesota has been notably excellent at ending losing skids at just one or two, and have never fallen three straight times under his eye during regular season play.
They will have a chance to continue that trend Tuesday, and continue to post more spectacular home results. The Wild put together a reasonable effort in Vegas, controlling play to an expected goals share of 5.47-4.35. But ultimately too many sloppy breakdowns left Cam Talbot out to dry allowing the Knights to generate six goals.
To expect the team to continue similarly sloppy defensive play may not be smart, though, as the roster holds a ton of excellent two-way players, led by its very mobile defense core.
Captain Jared Spurgeon made his presence known against Vegas, posting his first three points since returning from injury December 9.
Spurgeon is still one of the more underrated players in the entire league, and should he find the spectacular form he’s shown much of his career could offer a significant boost to a Wild team that still controlled play to a 51.96 xGF% during his absence.
Talbot will likely draw the start Tuesday, and has been very strong so far through 21 games, stopping .917% of shots faced with a +5.8 GSAx rating.
Wild vs. Hurricanes Pick
Carolina is among the most complete teams in the entire NHL, and is justifiably priced as the fifth best odds to win the Stanley Cup, slightly shorter than the Wild at most books.
I like what the Hurricanes have to offer much more than Minnesota, however Aho is their most important skater and is still missing. Pesce and DeAngelo could return, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see those two not at their best here.
Minnesota have been outright dominant at home, posting a 10-2-0 record with a +20 goal differential. The Wild hold one of the better puck-moving defenses in the league, and with Spurgeon back in the mix offer a loaded back-end to help support a deep and tough to play against forward core.
These clubs are similar to each other in a lot of aspects, and I imagine we will see a very well-contested contest here between two very strong clubs.
Considering the pieces out for Carolina, the potential for lesser play from those two excellent RHD in Pesce and DeAngelo, and Minnesota’s stellar form on home ice, I am willing to back the Wild at -125 (PointsBet) here, and I would play them down to -150.
Pick: Minnesota Wild -125 (Play to -150)
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