Thu, Apr 22, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The Carolina Hurricanes (30-10-5, 1st in the Central) visit the Florida Panthers (30-12-5, 2nd in the Central) on Thursday, April 22, at 7 PM ET at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
These two teams are sitting in a virtual tie for first place with 65 points apiece, but the Hurricanes hold the tiebreaker as they lead the season series 5-1.
They will meet one final time during the regular season on Saturday, April 24.
The Panthers won the first meeting of the season before the Hurricanes reeled off five straight in the regular-season series.
The last time these teams played, the Hurricanes picked up a 3-0 win on April 8.
Carolina is 6-2-2 in its last 10 games played, averaging 2.9 goals scored per game. Florida is 6-3-1 in its last 10, averaging 3.0 goals scored per game.
The Hurricanes are coming off a 4-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning the last time they hit the ice.
Three different players scored in the second period in the victory for the Hurricanes.
“All these games now, they mean a lot,’’ said Hurricanes goalie Alex Nedeljkovic, who improved to 11-4-2 on the season after stopping 26 shots against the Lightning. “We’re poised here to make a deep run, and games like this are only going to push us in the right direction. We’ll most likely have to go through these guys one way or another come playoff time.’’
Tampa Bay is just three points behind the Hurricanes and Panthers for the top spot in the Central Division.
“That was a 60-minute effort all the way through,’’ Carolina head coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “We were just a little more invested in this game.”
The Panthers enter tonight’s Central Division tilt having won three in a row. Their most recent win was a 5-1 drubbing of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Panthers got two goals from Sam Bennett in the win and goalie Spencer Knight stopped 33 shots in his NHL debut between the pipes.
“I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be,” Knight said. “The guys did a good job of just keeping it light and telling me to just go out there and play hockey. That’s what I tried to do. At the end of the day, it’s just hockey.”
Knight became the first goalie in Panthers’ history to win his NHL debut.
“He might have been nervous, but it didn’t show out there,” Jonathan Huberdeau, who had a goal and two assists in the win, said. “I think the way he moves the puck, like when he gets out of the net, it’s pretty incredible. Very happy for him to get that first start, first win.”
The Over/Under is set at six total goals tonight. Despite being the road team, the Hurricanes are -1.5 favorites against the Panthers. Placing a bet on NHL action tonight? Take the Hurricanes and the -130 money line as they win for the sixth time in seven games in this series.