Sunday NHL Odds, Picks, Prediction: Edmonton Oilers vs. Carolina Hurricanes Betting Preview

Sunday NHL Odds, Picks, Prediction: Edmonton Oilers vs. Carolina Hurricanes Betting Preview article feature image

Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Leon Draisaitl.

  • The Oilers get Sunday's NHL action started with a game in Carolina.
  • Edmonton is a +170 underdog, but depending on its starting goalie, it could have value to pull the upset.
  • Nicholas Martin breaks down the game and gives his top pick, below.

Oilers vs. Hurricanes Odds

Oilers Odds+170
Hurricanes Odds-210
Time1 p.m. ET
TVNHL Network
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

After what was somewhat of a tough-luck loss in Tampa on Wednesday, Edmonton bounced back with a 4-3 win Saturday afternoon in Florida. It was a rare win which saw the Oilers control less of the run of play altogether.

Could we possibly see a similar storyline play out here against a Carolina team that traditionally generates a ton of shots on goal?

Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton generated a strong offensive output yet again in Florida, raising its expected goals per 60 to 3.56 over the month of February. It was rewarded with four goals where it matters.

Defensively it was far from the Oilers' best night, but at the same time it was a pretty reasonable result considering the competition faced. If there's a team that deserves a strong goaltending performance as of late, it certainly could be the Oilers.

Altogether the Oilers have been in solid form with a 56.1 xGF% this month, holding the opposition to a reasonable 2.77 expected goals mark at all strengths. That play, however, is often undone by the poor work from Mike Smith in goal.

Surely the level of breakdowns featured at times may show favorably in that 2.77 goals against per 60, but more of the story has just been leaky goaltending, and that showed prominently in Tampa this week.

In a crazy stat put together by Brian Swane, Edmonton has gone 8-0-1 since Jan. 20 in games started by Mikko Koskinen or Sean Skinner with a .921 save % and 2.30 goals against average. Compare that to going 3-4-0 in Mike Smith's seven appearances with a 3.55 goals against average and .882 save %.

So the disparity in play in goal has been meaningful, and it is certainly worth watching to see who ends up getting this tough start Sunday.

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Carolina Hurricanes

Columbus appeared to be a team due for some serious regression entering Friday's contest in Carolina, and although it took what felt like 100 chances, the dam finally burst in a game which saw Carolina control a ridiculous amount of the overall possession.

From the get-go Carolina put a ton of attempts towards Columbus' goal, with the Blue Jackets seemingly accepting they would have little of the overall chances, just trying to stay in a defensive shell.

The strong run of play raised Carolina's expected goals rate to 56.18% over its last five, but this contest will offer a club who has been far more competitive in controlling the run of play at 5-on-5 being the Oilers.

Tony DeAngelo will remain sidelined, and that loss will likely be more prominent here, in a spot where Carolina is less likely to own the puck from the jump all day long.

Oilers vs. Hurricanes Pick

As outlined, the Oilers have been a completely different team in contests where they have received acceptable goaltending. This is a spot where I care enough about the eventual net-minding decision to wait for confirmation in the morning.

Even against Carolina's spectacular defensive play, I do think we should see the Oilers able to generate some offense once again and build on two solid performances to start the road trip. The question will be what kind of offensive total they can hold Carolina to, and that will be largely dependent on an acceptable start in goal.

Either way I lean towards a fairly high-scoring game, but my favorite play will come down to whether Edmonton lets Koskinen roll back-to-back or goes to Mike Smith, which is probably the more likely possibility.

Carolina undoubtedly holds the more complete and well-rounded roster altogether, but the results produced and overall run of play as of late have been closer than this big number suggests. I feel comfortable with where the Oilers' high-end talents are at offensively right now.

Should Smith start I will play the over 6.5 up to -130, as the Oilers will likely be forced to push to outscore some soft goals yet again. But should they go with Koskinen, I will take a shot on the Oilers as a longshot at +175, even against a legitimate cup contender in Carolina. The Oilers have played even with regards to play-driving numbers against some stiff competition as of late and obviously feature the scoring talent to pay that off much of the time.

Pick: Over 6.5 -105 If Smith Starts (Play to -125) | Edmonton ML +170 If Koskinen or Skinner starts (Play to +155)

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