Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Carolina Hurricanes Free Preview

In their first head-to-head meeting of the regular season, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Carolina Hurricanes meet at PNC Arena for a divisional showdown. AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh will showcase the game, which gets going at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, December 29.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Carolina Hurricanes Odds

Pittsburgh (+100) is entering this one as the underdog to Carolina (-120), and the Over/Under (O/U) has been set at 6 goals (-120 for the over, +100 for the under).

Pittsburgh is 19-19 straight up (SU) and has lost 6.7 units for moneyline bettors this year. Through 38 regular season matches, 20 of its games have gone over the total, while 16 have gone under and just two have pushed. As the away team in 2017-18, the Pens are 7-12 SU.

Pittsburgh currently has the second-best power-play unit in the NHL, as it’s converted on 25.2 percent of its extra-man advantages this year. Its penalty kill is ranked 18th overall, and it has successfully killed off 80.6 percent of its penalties.

For the team as a whole, the Pens have been penalized 4.4 times per game overall in the 2017-18 season, and 3.2 per game over its last five road outings. The team has had to kill penalties just 7.8 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

With a .904 save percentage and 25.9 saves per game, Matt Murray (15-12-1) has been the primary option in goal for Pittsburgh this year. If it chooses to give him a rest, however, the team might turn to Tristan Jarry (5-6-2), who has a .918 save percentage and 2.43 goals against average this year.

The visiting Penguins will be led by Phil Kessel and Sidney Crosby. Kessel has 41 points on 16 goals and 25 assists, and has recorded two or more points eight times. Crosby has 14 goals and 21 assists to his nameand has registered a point in 22 games.

On the other side of the rink, Carolina is 17-19 straight up (SU) and has lost 3.4 units for moneyline bettors this year. Through 36 regular season outings, 17 of its games have gone over the total, while another 17 have gone under and just two have pushed. It’s 9-7 SU as the home team this year.

The Hurricanes have converted on just 16.0 percent of their power play opportunities this season, a mark that’s ranked 26th in the NHL. On the other hand, its penalty kill is ranked 25th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 77.8 percent of all opponent power plays.

Hurricanes players have been called for penalties only 2.8 times per game in total this season, 3.2 per game over their past five match ups total, and 3.2 per game over their last five home outings. The team has been forced to kill penalties just 6.1 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Scott Darling (24.5 saves per game) has been the top option in goal for the Hurricanes. Darling has eight wins, 16 losses, and six OT losses to his name and has registered a fairly-weak .896 save percentage and 2.87 goals against average this year.

Teuvo Teravainen (nine goals, 20 assists) will pace the attack for the hosts.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Carolina Hurricanes Free Picks

Predictions: SU Winner – Penguins, O/U – Over

Betting Notes

  • The majority (58.8 percent) of Carolina’s wins have come by two or more goals, and the team is 10-7 overall in such games. 7 of Pittsburgh’s 19 wins (36.8 percent) have been decided by two or more goals.
  • The Penguins are 7-10 SU in games where they serve more penalty minutes than their opponent while the Hurricanes are 5-3 SU when they spend more time in the box than the opposition.
  • Pittsburgh is 2-1 in games decided by a shootout this season while Carolina is 3-3 in shootouts.
  • The under has hit in three of Carolina’s last five outings.
  • Carolina has allowed 3.1 goals per game overall this year, but has driven that figure down to 1.3 per contest across its three-game winning streak.
  • Carolina skaters have averaged 13.0 giveaways over its last five home games, a rise over its season average of 9.8 giveaways per game (ranked 17th in the NHL).
  • Pittsburgh has averaged 8.0 giveaways over its last five home games, its season average of 8.6 giveaways per game (ranked 10th in the NHL).
  • Pittsburgh skaters have accounted for the fourth-most hits in the league (23.8 per game), but that numbers down to just 19.4 hits over their last five away games.