Florida Panthers (22-27-7) at Carolina Hurricanes (25-21-9)
|Date & Time||Friday February 7, 2014, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Carolina Hurricanes -157 / Florida Panthers +143 --- Over/Under: 5.5
|TV Channel||Stream NHL games all season on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Hurricanes look to continue their strong play as they host the Florida Panthers in Raleigh on Friday night.
The Panthers look to play spoiler in Raleigh on Friday night as they take on a Hurricanes team looking to move up the standings in the Metropolitan division. There is still plenty of time remaining in the regular season but with the Olympic break taking effect this weekend the Panthers are running out of time when it comes to the Eastern Conference playoff picture but it is becoming more and more evident they will be drafting in the top five in July. The Panthers are a young team that will get back to relevance in the coming years as they have a number of solid prospects and with Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleks Barkov serving as the infrastructure they could be good as early as next year. Tim Thomas has enjoyed a pretty respectable season in the Panthers crease after taking last year off and whether his return to the team next year is uncertain he has definitely earned his way to a new contract. The Panthers and Thomas will take on Anton Khudobin who has been brilliant of late in the Carolina crease.
The Hurricanes are right in the mix in the Eastern Conference playoff picture by virtue of the log jammed Metropolitan division and sit just five points back of the idle Philadelphia Flyers for the third automatic entry. Carolina is still underachieving in their eyes as they were predicted to be right in the mix for the division lead with the Penguins but since they made the trade for Jordan Staal two years ago the Canes haven’t been able to live up to the hype and unless they can vindicate this year by not only making the playoffs but winning a series I think it’ll be considered a poor season. The Canes have to be happy with the way Khdobin has been playing though as the former Boston Bruins backup is stealing the headlines in the Carolina crease and with the constant health issues surrounding Cam Ward plaguing his durability it could be Khudobin’s job to lose. Despite the Panthers being a team who rises to the occasion on nights no one expects them to I think this is a great spot at home for the Canes as they prove to be too much here.