Two Teams Looking for Rebound
The Minnesota Wild and Carolina Hurricanes will meet in the NHL season opener in Europe with a puck drop of noon eastern time on Thursday. Be sure and check SBG for both the side and over/under odds on this matchup.
Both the Wild and the Hurricanes missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs last year but are optimistic about a return to the post season for 2010-11.
A New Wild Era
Minnesota finished with a record of 38-36-8 last year as they tried to adjust with new head coach Todd Richards, who replaced Jacques Lemaire, the only previous coach in the history of the franchise. Richards was hired to try and ignite an offense that had become stagnant under Lemaire and had little success last year. It was a bizarre start in more ways than one; as the Wild got rid of Marian Gaborik prior to last season and he went on to lead the New York Rangers in scoring just as the Wild stated that they wanted to open things up.
Quick Start Required
Last year Minnesota dug a major hole early in the season that they were never able to get out of. Richards will need a much better start to this year in order for the team to build confidence and momentum and avoid negativity.
The Carolina Panthers had a NHL bet record of 35-37-10 last year after making the Eastern Conference Finals in 2009. A big reason for the drop last year was the injury to goaltender Cam Ward, who suffered a leg laceration by a skate during game action. Ward was only able to total 18 wins last year after compiling 39 the year before.
Ray Whitney was a key component to the Hurricanes over the past 5 seasons and although his production was in decline, his departure for Phoenix does not help a team that was already struggling on the power play.
An Early Staal
Eric Stall is the NHL wagering online key to Carolina’s success as in their 39 losses last year Staal only had 8 goals. He is in the second year of a big 7 year deal and must bounceback with more consistency.