Pucking the trends: Hurricanes in free fall

Nov 10, 2009 |
Pucking the trends: Hurricanes in free fall

In his weekly column Pucking the trends Illegal Curve’s Ari Baum-Cohen looks at news from around the NHL and the potential impact on bettors.

Carolina tropical storms

So what do oddsmakers think of the Carolina Hurricanes?

On Saturday the Columbus Blue Jackets were -204 favorites against the ‘Canes. It was the first time since 2006 the Blue Jackets were favorites of -200 or greater. 

That was before Cam Ward got injured.

Carolina, already missing its two best forwards in Eric Staal and Ray Whitney, will be without the services of its Conn Smythe winning netminder for up to four weeks.

"He (Ward) stabilized us," said Hurricanes forward Erik Cole. "Everyone has confidence in him to perform."

Manny Legace has been signed by the ‘Canes to split time in net with Michael Leighton.

The Hurricanes have lost 12 straight games, including six consecutive in regulation.

Leafs no longer blow

The Toronto Maple Leafs are 3-0-4 in their last seven games and 6-1 against the spread after starting the season 0-7-1 and 0-8 ATS.

As Toronto Star writer Damien Cox points out, Leafs GM Brian Burke’s blueprint for victory is finally coming together.

Jonas Gustavsson has been in net for six of Toronto’s last seven games and has a respectable 2.60 GAA and .918 save percentage.

“This kid (Gustavsson), he deserves the shot to play and we’re playing well in front of him,” said Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson

Phil Kessel has three points in his first three games and demonstrated that he is a legitimate sniper.

"He's a smart player (Kessel), he's always in the right place at the right time," said Toronto forward Jason Blake.

Many Happy Returns?

The Vancouver Province’s Ben Kuzma observes that the Canucks were recently missing six forwards and their starting goaltender.

Vancouver should have four-time All-Star Roberto Luongo and last year’s top goal-scorer Daniel Sedin back from injury this week.

Backup goaltender Andrew Raycroft is doing an admirable job filling in for Luongo.  Raycroft is 4-1-0 with a 1.70 GAA since Luongo’s injury. 

The Canucks have had some trouble scoring in Sedin’s absence, averaging 2.64 goals per game since his Oct. 7 injury.

"Injuries aside, with the nine games we played in 14 nights and finished with a 6-3 record, if somebody told me before I can have that record, I would probably take it," said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault.

Best offense is a good defense

Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution points out that Atlanta’s last seven goals have come from defensemen and 63.2 percent of the Thrashers’ goals since Ilya Kovalchuk’s injury have come from the defensemen.

“That’s good. We just have to get our forwards scoring, and everything will be perfect,” said Atlanta defenseman Tobias Enstrom.

The over is 4-2-0 in Kovalchuk’s absence. Atlanta has a 7-3-4 over/under record this season.

Meanwhile the Nashville Predators are 5-2-0 in their last seven games and have scored 19 goals during that span. Ten of those 19 goals have come from defensemen.

"I think any time the defensemen on any team can score it helps out big time,'' said Predators defenseman Cody Franson.

On schedule

Wednesday Nov. 11, Edmonton at Buffalo

The Edmonton Oilers will be playing their third road game in four nights.  The Oilers will be hard-pressed to play a 60-minute game against a well-rested Buffalo Sabres team that will not have played since losing to the Bruins on Nov. 7.

Saturday Nov. 14, Anaheim at Detroit

After playing nine of 10 at home, the Anaheim Ducks embark on a cross-country road trip where they must play four games in six nights. Saturday night against the Red Wings will be Anaheim’s third game in four nights. Detroit has not yet suffered a regulation loss at Joe Louis Arena this season (5-0-1).

Saturday Nov. 14, Los Angeles at Tampa Bay

On Saturday night, the Los Angeles Kings will be playing their third road game in four nights and fourth road game in six. Tampa Bay will be playing just its second game of the week and has played its best hockey at home (4-0-3).

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