Carolina Hurricanes @ Boston Bruins Free NHL Pick 2/2/12
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There really aren’t many teams in the Eastern Conference that are totally out of the playoff picture, but the argument could be made that Carolina is one of those that is just totally out of it. The team is 12 points back in the Southeast Division with more games played than any other team in the bunch, and it is just so far back with literally every single team to hop just to get into the postseason picture with the rest of the pack. Matters have been brutally disgusting on the road, where the Canes are just 5-13-6 this season and have little to show for their work. It is a wonder how this team ever picks up wins with as poor as this defense has been. The unit is allowing 3.1 goals per game on 31.7 shots per game, and it is clear that Cam Ward is nowhere near the goaltender that he was when he was leading this team to the Stanley Cup all those years ago. He does have a reasonably respectable 18 wins on the campaign, but a 2.80 GAA just isn’t going to cut it, especially when there is nothing behind him worth noting that the team can put in the pipes either.
Boston hasn’t quite run down the New York Rangers yet for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but the truth of the matter is that it probably won’t make all that much of a difference. The B’s are six points up with five games in hand on the Ottawa Senators for the top spot in the Northeast Division, and they are nine points up with a game in hand on the Southeast Division leading Florida Panthers. It is clear at this point that, barring any epic collapse, the defending Stanley Cup champs are going to be no worse than the No. 2 seed in the playoffs, which would earn them the right to have home ice advantage through at least the first two rounds of the postseason. Andrew Ference comes back today from his three-game suspension, while Nathan Horton has a shot of getting back on the ice for the first time in over a week after suffering a concussion before the All Star Break.
Carolina Hurricanes @ Boston Bruins Pick: In the end, this is still hockey, and anything can happen on any given day. The Bruins are clearly the better team, but that doesn’t mean that they are going to win this game close to 75 percent of the time. Instead, we’ll back the visitors at tremendous hockey odds and try to steal one with a big return on our investment on Thursday night.
Free Hockey Pick: Carolina Hurricanes
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