Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#613 Carolina Hurricanes vs.
#614 Florida Panthers
Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 7:05pm EDT
BB&T Center, Sunrise
Written by Valdis Pans

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Currently riding a seven-game winning streak on own ice, the Florida Panthers (2nd in Central Division) will host the Carolina Hurricanes (1st in Central), who have gathered points in four consecutive games.

‘Canes Split Bolts Set

The Carolina Hurricanes (30-10-5) extended their point streak to four outings (3-0-1) after splitting their back-to-back road set against the Tampa Bay Lightning, following up Monday’s 3-2 overtime defeat with a 4-1 victory at Amalie Arena on Tuesday. Nino Niederreiter (16 goals, 29 points this year), Jordan Staal (14 goals, 32 points) and Steven Lorentz (2 goals, 5 points) buried consecutive strikes in the second period before Jordan Martinook (3 goals, 12 points) notched an empty-netter with three seconds remaining after the Bolts got a goal back just before the second intermission. Carolina is 6-1-2 in its last nine overall outings.

Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic (11-4-2 for the ongoing campaign with a 1.87 GAA and a .932 save percentage) made 26 saves on Tuesday, but is set to give way in the net to Petr Mrazek ahead of the upcoming contest. Mrazek has registered a 5-1-2 total for the season with a 1.60 GAA and a .939 save percentage, and is 6-6-2 against the Florida Panthers historically with a 2.91 GAA and a .905 save percentage. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, are 11th in most goals scored per game this year (3.16), 4th in least goals conceded on average (2.36), 2nd best in power play (27.4%) and 6th in penalty kill (83.8%).

Cats Extend Win Run

The current point streak of the Florida Panthers (30-12-5) stretched out to five fixtures (4-0-1) after the team bagged its third consecutive victory following a 5-1 triumph over the Columbus Blue Jackets at BB&T Center on Tuesday. Playing just 24 hours after beating the Jackets 4-2 in the same building, the Cats scored twice in the opening frame and three more times in the following period, allowing just a single power-play snipe four minutes ahead of the first intermission. Sam Bennett (7 goals, 17 points this year) got on the scoreboard twice for Florida, which is riding a seven-game winning streak on own ice.

Goalie Spencer Knight made 33 saves on Tuesday to start his NHL career with a 1-0-0 record on top of a 1.00 GAA and a .971 save percentage. Sergei Bobrovsky (17-7-2 on the season with a 2.82 GAA and a .909 save percentage), though, is expected back in the crease for Florida on Thursday, having recorded an 11-12-1 past total against the Carolina Hurricanes with a 2.35 GAA and a .926 save percentage. The Panthers, meanwhile, are 8th in most goals scored per game this year (3.21), 9th in least goals conceded on average (2.64), 11th in power play (21.3%) and 15th in penalty kill (79.7%).

Best Bets for this Game

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Both teams are tied on 65 points for 1st place in the Central Division at the moment, three points ahead of the 3rd-placed Tampa Bay Lightning. So, with both having the opportunity to take a sole lead, expect the motivation to run high in either camp. The Panthers have got the home advantage, having already banked seven straight victories at BB&T Center, stretching back to a 2-0 victory against the Nashville Predators on March 20. Still, betting against the Hurricanes seems even more difficult! Especially considering the team's recent form versus Florida. Carolina is riding a five-game overall winning run against the Cats, a five-game triumph streak in Sunrise, and has lost just two of its past 12 contests versus the Panthers. Florida, on the other hand, has only managed to get one victory in its last eight matchups against teams with a winning percentage above the .600 mark (namely, the ‘Canes and the Tampa Bay Lightning) and has been a mess on Thursdays, losing on four of the last five attempts.

Prediction: Carolina Hurricanes (-110)

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Both teams have been excellent on the defensive end of the ice lately. The Hurricanes have been conceding just an average of 1.40 strikes per outing in their last five contests, while the Panthers have given up just an average of 1.56 tallies per clash in their previous nine. So, expecting a high-scoring game from their upcoming encounter on Thursday is probably not the best of ideas! The most recent five Thursday fixtures of Florida have already delivered just a modest number of markers, while the very last five overall outings of the ‘Canes have all gone below the set goal-mark.

Prediction: Under 5.5
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Written By Valdis Pans , "Valdis Pans"

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