Tonight’s NHL slate is hockey heaven for die-hards of the game, with every single team in the league slated to be in action. One of the 16 games on the schedule features a Tampa Bay Lightning team coming off an overtime loss, playing host to a Carolina Hurricanes team on a two-game losing streak. Scoring has been plentiful in the Hurricanes games this season, and I’ll review why I don’t expect that to change tonight in Tampa Bay.
Defense has apparently been optional for the Carolina Hurricanes to start the season. While they are sitting at 3-3 entering tonight, the Canes are allowing an average of five goals per game, which is the highest average in the league. Through their six games, they have allowed at least three goals in each of them, and out of the three goalies they’ve started this season, Frederik Andersen has the fewest goals allowed with eight in two starts.
It’s not like the Canes goalies are being peppered with shots either, as the team has allowed the third-fewest shots per game with an average of 27.5. While tonight’s starter has yet to be announced, it is expected that Anttii Raanta will be in net. In three games, Raanta is allowing an average of 4.41 goals against per game, and out of all the goalies to play at least two games this season, he ranks 50 out of 53 in goals saved above expected.
If he does end up starting, Raanta will be up against a Tampa Bay Lightning offense that is 11th in the league in goals per game (3.3) but 23rd in shots per game (29.5). Despite picking up two power-play goals from Nikita Kucherov on Saturday, Tampa Bay would fall 4-3 in overtime despite having a 3-1 lead after the first period.
The Lightning were outshot 48 to 27 in the game, and after allowing four goals, Jonas Johansson is expected back in net tonight. Through five games, Johansson has a .902 save percentage and has allowed at least three goals in every game he’s played.
The total for this game is set at 6.5, and I’ll be taking the over at (-110) for my play. Canes games are 6-0 to the over this season, and I don’t see that trend ending tonight when they play another team that is amongst the five worst in goals allowed per game in the Tampa Bay Lightning. While the Canes have at least minimized the number of shots they allow, the Lightning have not, as they allow an average of 37.2 a game, the second most in the league.
Jonas Johansson just faced a Leafs team that averages the most shots per game in the league up to this point, and now he faces a Hurricanes team that is 8th in shots per game with 33.5. Out of the 53 goalies who have played at least two games, Johansson ranks 26th in saves above expected.
Even if Johansson struggles, the Lightning have an offense that can keep them in the game. One of the biggest keys to their success tonight will be the powerplay, as Tampa Bay has the third most powerplay goals in the league this season with seven, and now they get to match up with a Canes team that is 29th in penalty kill and will likely have a struggling goalie in net.
Over 6.5 (-110)