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Free NHL Pick: Hurricanes vs. Penguins Betting Lines & Preview

Hurricanes vs Penguins Pick

NHL Betting action sees the Carolina Hurricanes taking on the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday December 31st at Consol Energy Center. Cappers Picks provides free NHL handicapping tips all season long.

Surely the only New Year’s resolution the Pittsburgh Penguins have is to stay healthy.

NHL Predictions

Carolina vs Pittsburgh
Date/Time: Wednesday, Dec. 31 2014, 7 pm EST
Venue: CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh PA
Broadcast: ROOT
Carolina +180, Pittsburgh -230
Over/Under: 5
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The Pens have limped through December with a fraction of their roster in playing shape. It’s led to a four-game losing streak, but playing the 10-22-4 Carolina Hurricanes should serve as a tonic.

The Penguins were hit by the league’s mumps epidemic probably harder than any other team, not to mention the pesky injuries that pile up over the course of the regular season.

Lately, the Pens have been without Olli Maata, Pascal Dupuis, Beau Bennett, Christian Ehrhoff, and Craig Adams. That’s just to name a few.

Carolina is in last place in the Eastern Conference and has managed only 15 goals in its past 12 games. The visitors should be ripe for the picking on New Year’s Eve in the Steel City.

Some limited good news for the ‘Canes is that center Jordan Staal returned on Monday, after missing the first 35 contests with a broken fibula. He scored 15 tallies for the team last year, so his presence should help bolster the scoring.

Jiri Tlusty, one of the few Carolina skaters with legitimate goal-scoring touch, has also been out since Dec. 11.

Tlusty leads the team with 10 goals in 2014, despite missing the recent time. The Hurricanes don’t have the stalwart blueliners or the shutdown goaltending to compete if their forwards are not lighting the lamp.

This has been painfully evident to this point.

Pittsburgh superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin love to feast on Carolina – that should continue on Wednesday night. Crosby has 36 points in 28 meeting with the Hurricanes, and Malkin has 29 in 26.

Despite a four-game skid, the Pens still lead the Metropolitan division with 49 points. Grabbing a win tonight is important, because dominant Tampa Bay comes into Pittsburgh on Jan. 2.

As a rule, the Penguins are strong in every facet of the game, which leads to their success. It’s not just goal-scoring with this Eastern Conference contender; Pittsburgh also ranks fifth in the NHL goals against (just 2.3 per contest, on average) and fourth in penalty killing – stingy 87% of the time.

The Hurricanes could take some notes, although increasingly it looks like they’re gunning for one of the lauded top picks in the 2015 Draft, Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel.

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, despite all the guff he’s taken over the years, has played a damn good campaign to this point, represented by his goals-against average of 2.16 and .927 save percentage.

If the ‘Burgh can just get (and stay) healthy, it will be in the mix in the East until the bitter end.

NHL Betting Trends

* CAR are 5-16 in their last 21 road games.
* Under is 33-13-5 in CAR last 51 overall.
* CAR are 20-42 in their last 62 overall.
* Under is 7-1 in PIT last 8 home games.
* PIT are 10-2 in their last 12 Wed. games.
* Over is 21-6 in PIT last 27 Wed. games.
* CAR are 3-9 in the last 12 meetings.
* CAR are 2-6 in the last 8 meetings in Pittsburgh.

4* Free NHL Play On Pittsburgh 5, Carolina 2

This is a club that contends in the East every year because of its top-heavy talent and so long as they simultaneously get good netminding, the Pens are tough to stop.

Take the OVER

The Carolina Hurricanes should learn that the hard way on the road on Wednesday night. Hey, there can still be champagne later.

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