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Posted at 10:55 AM EST
Regulation only. Minnesota opened the year with a 4-2 loss in Detroit and while it’s just one game, we have to take note of it. A lot of Minnesota's core players are in their 30s, and a decline has already started for some, including Zach Parise, who failed to hit the 20-goal mark in a full season for the first time since his rookie year and had injury troubles in camp. Eric Staal's numbers had plummeted before last season, and there's worry that he could slide backward after his rebirth season. Although Ryan Suter has shown no signs of slowing down, he'll turn 33 in January and has played the most minutes in the NHL since 2012-13, his first season with the Wild. Minnesota’s lack of production is very reliant on preventing goals and we don’t see where they have improved defensively.
A well respected friend of ours with outstanding hockey knowledge, who really liked the Wild last year, is turned off by them this year. Our friend does not like the Marco Scandella and forward Jason Pominville to the Buffalo Sabres for Tyler Ennis and Marcus Foligno deal. We’re also not sold on Devan Dubnyk, who got hot for an extended period of time after a decade of mediocrity prior. Dubnyk struggled down the stretch last season with a 9-10-2 record and .901 save percentage in his last 22 games. That’s the Dubnyk we all know that spent most of the past decade as a backup or in the minors. We’ll see how things play out in Minnesota but this wager is more about getting behind another team that is also on the verge of a major breakout.
Eight years removed from their last postseason appearance, the Hurricanes have amassed a boatload of young talent thanks to all of their high draft picks. This offseason, general manager Ron Francis acquired a goalie on the rise in Scott Darling. Coach Bill Peters has done a solid job of developing his young players and is going into his fourth year behind the Hurricanes bench.The Canes have built one of the league’s most dynamic defensive corps, with an impressive top four of Noah Hanifin, Justin Faulk, Jaccob Slavin, and Brett Pesce. They have two rock solid scoring lines and it would surprise nobody if their third line scores too. The ‘Canes are not messing around this year. They are going for it big time and thus, this first game on opening night in Carolina is a big deal. The fan base there is getting tired of waiting and the organization is now putting a ton of emphasis on this season. The brass has set up this squad to succeed and we’ll trust the players to execute and bring a ton of energy into this opener.
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CAROLINA -½ +132 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.64)