NHL Preview 16th – 18th

The Carolina Hurricanes have been one of the surprise packages in the early part of the season, racking up five straight wins before Monday’s loss to Winnipeg.

Having failed their first test against Stanley Cup-calibre opposition in the Jets, the Canes will be looking to prove themselves when they head to Tampa Bay on Wednesday.

Lightning to strike down Carolina

Carolina end a tough road swing hoping to maintain a start to the season, which sees them sit atop the Metropolitan standings after six games. The Hurricanes have blown most of their opponents away so far, averaging 3.8 goals per game, while they lead the NHL in shots per game with 42.3.

Sebastian Aho has been the talisman once more with four goals and seven assists, while goaltender Curtis McElhinney has a save percentage above .900 through three games.

McElhinney will need to be on top of his game to stop a Lightning side who responded to a shock 4-1 loss at home to Vancouver, by putting eight past Columbus.

Half of Tampa’s goal against the Blue Jackets came in the powerplay and that could be key in deciding this one, given Carolina are ranked 28th in penalty killing. That only strengthens the argument of getting behind Tampa, while the overs on goal line will also be worth checking out.

Struggling Panthers seek lift off

The Florida Panthers were expected to challenge for a play-off place again this year after, narrowly missing out on a spot by one point last term. However, after losing goaltender Roberto Luongo to injury, the Panthers have lost all three of their early-season games.

They head to Philadelphia to face an inconsistent Flyers side on Wednesday, seeking to win a third straight game against Dave Hakstol’s men. Philly have had dreadful luck with injuries through their first five games, three of which they’ve lost, winger Travis Konecny being the latest addition to a growing list of players currently sidelined.

These two teams are desperate for a win to ignite their season and Florida could find what they are looking for in Philly, given the hosts have conceded an average of four goals per game.

Canucks eye Penguins scalp

The Vancouver Canucks have shocked a few teams through the first two weeks and will head to Pittsburgh looking for a third straight win. The 18-year-old Elias Pettersson looks the real deal, leading the team with eight points and showing glimpses of a potentially bright future for the rebuilding ‘Nucks.

The Penguins have been inconsistent, losing two to Montreal already, and having been beaten twice by Vancouver last year, the Canucks are worth considering on the puck line.