NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Stars vs. Hurricanes (March 24)
Eakin Howard/Getty Images. Pictured: The Hurricanes celebrate a goal.
- The Hurricanes are home favorites on Thursday night against the Stars.
- Carolina's defense is fierce, but Dallas is making a strong push toward a postseason spot.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Stars vs. Hurricanes Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Carolina Hurricanes snapped a four-game losing skid in impressive fashion Tuesday, besting the two-time defending champion Lightning in a playoff-caliber 3-2 victory. On Wednesday, they turn their attention toward a Dallas Stars team fighting for its playoff life.
The Stars have produced a lot of offense lately, but will that trend continue against Frederik Andersen and the Canes?
Hurricanes an Offensive Enigma
The Hurricanes are still one of the league’s best, but they’re not exactly blowing the doors off of late, at least offensively.
The Canes have not scored more than three goals in 11 March contests, and have been playing a ton of tightly contested defensive battles.
This isn’t entirely new during Rod Brind’Amour’s tenure as coach. The Hurricanes have always been in the league’s bottom-third in goals scored above average, including -14.96 this season.
It’s interesting, then, that despite a lack of offensive fireworks this month, the Hurricanes actually sit seventh in that metric for March at 3.40. It’s a positive sign despite them regularly underperforming that mark thus far.
The main causation for this underperformance is that the Hurricanes’ style involves funnel every possible pick towards the goal, which in turn contributes to high expected goals totals.
The opposite function of this holds up with regards to Carolina’s defensive play. The Hurricanes are clearly way better than average in the ability to prevent extreme danger breakdowns, and it is not surprising to see Andersen has thrived with a club that is among the NHL’s elite defensively.
Andersen has a +31.4 goals saved above expected rating with a .928 save % throughout 43 games played this season, and should likely get the start here.
Stars Making Postseason Push
The Stars enter this one following a two-game win streak — 3-2 over the Capitals and 5-3 over the Oilers — that has skyrocketed their playoff aspirations.
The Stars have played a more high-event style of hockey than we are used to seeing of late, generating the league’s third-best goals for per 60 at 3.79 this month alongside a reasonable 3.30 goal per game average.
However, on paper the attack still appears relatively one dimensional, led by a dominant top line of Roope Hintz, Jason Robertson and Joe Pavelski, as well as an above average power play unit.
That top line will be met as much as possible by Jaccob Slavin’s duo, and could have a rare night of controlling less of the play against some of the Canes’ strong shutdown offensive units.
Carolina also holds the league’s best penalty kill, so it could be a tough night for the Stars’ 12th-ranked power play to find success.
Part of the Stars’ push towards the postseason has been a continued breakthrough from Jake Oettinger, who has been ridden hard with Braden Holtby on the IR.
Oettinger has played to a +4.2 goals saved above expected rating with a .917 save % in 35 games.
Stars vs. Hurricanes Pick
NHL combined totals have started to regress a bit as we wind down the stretch towards the postseason. Games are appearing to more often offer up tighter checking, and I certainly believe we have seen refs begin to let players get away with more defensively.
Moving forward, I expect to see less contests warranting totals of 6.5 and 6.0 down the stretch, and I believe this is one of them.
Carolina has struggled of late at producing even-strength offense, and for a relatively large sample Hurricanes games have trended well below a mark of 6. We will likely see them post a moderate total here and I lean toward them as a side, but I still do not imagine they break through with a massive output.
Defensively, Carolina continues to be one of the league’s very best teams, and getting pucks past Andersen behind that elite defensive play has proven very tough all season long, particularly in Raleigh.
The Stars do not hold a notably deep offensive core, and it’s easy to see the Canes holding Dallas to a relatively low offensive output here.
I see value backing this one to stay under 6 at -120, in a spot where I love getting that key number, as I think at worst some of the higher scoring renditions of this contest finish at 6 with the empty netter.
Pick: Under 6 -120