There is no doubt that the action on the ice is going to be hot this season. The NHL preseason is over and teams are starting to get serious. The entire lineup for today looks interesting, but there are a couple of matchups scheduled for today that are going to prove particularly intriguing. Get ready to see some tight games as the pucks begin to fly from end to end.
The Carolina Hurricanes are going up against the Florida Panthers today, pitting two closely-ranked teams against each other. The Hurricanes currently are ahead, sitting in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, but this will become irrelevant throughout the matchup. The two teams are squaring off for the first time this season and they both are going to come out swinging with everything they have.
The ‘Canes pulled off an amazing run last year as they tried to reach the Stanley Cup. They may have fallen short, but this is only giving them more determination this season. They are 3-0, despite starting the year against some extremely tough competition. They’re hoping to make it 4-0 in tonight’s road game, and have two key players to help them out. Sebastian Aho had an awesome year last season, scoring 30 goals and racking up 83 points, and goalie Petr Mrazek is no slouch, either. His record last season was 23-14-3 and he managed a .914 save record. Against the Panthers, his save percentage is .906.
The Panthers know how to win and they’re not afraid to get their hands dirty. They may be 1-1 on the season, but this is only temporary. The team has picked up some new talent and center Aleksander Barkov is starting to shake off the off-season rust. He may have started slow this year, but that’s only because he wanted to save himself for the Canes. With Sergei Bobrovsky protecting the net, the Hurricanes can’t expect to find an easy win and they most likely won’t. The Panthers are slight favorites to win at -118.
The Washington Capitals are going to have to put up a strong fight when they take on the Dallas Stars today. However, all indications are that the team is planning on doing just that. The Stars took a defeat at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings last Sunday, its third consecutive loss, and have shown a propensity for not being able to tough it out until the bitter end. They’re 24th in scoring in the NHL this season, only putting an average of two pucks in the net each game, and this is going to cost them tonight.
A weak offense is going to allow the Capitals to find their grove early in the contest and keep the momentum in their favor for the majority of the game. They showed great coordination against the Canes last week and this will continue today. Add this to the Stars 0-6 record when playing on a single day of rest, and the Capitals shouldn’t have any problem tonight. This is why they’re the favorite at -132.