[8:00 PM] Hurricanes @ Jets

Who will WIN this matchup?

Carolina Hurricanes

@ Winnipeg Jets


Starting Goalies:

Cam Ward (CAR): Confirmed

Connor Hellebuyck(WPG): Confirmed


Current odds:

Carolina Hurricanes: (+105)

Winnipeg Jets: (-125)


The Carolina Hurricanes fully endorsed their youth movement two months into last season and, lo and behold, nearly found their way into the playoffs as a result. The young and thirsty Hurricanes look to build off that momentum on Thursday as they visit the Winnipeg Jets in the season opener for both teams.

Carolina’s bread-and-butter of the future is expected to be its defense, headlined by Justin Faulk, whose 16 goals were seventh among blue-liners. Former first-round pick Noah Hanifin and Jaccob Slavin and Brett Pesce are expected to be part of the team’s core for years to come, but Carolina’s primary issue may come in net as goaltenders Eddie Lack and veteran Cam Ward failed to impress last season. Elias Lindholm saw his scoring dip from 17 goals in 2014-15 to 11 last seaspn, a worrisome detail for the fifth overall pick of the 2013 draft.

Second overall pick Patrik Laine is entering the league with significant fanfare, having drawn comparisons to Finnish countryman Teemu Selanne. Winnipeg’s depth on defense is impressive, highlighted by burly Dustin Byfuglien, mammoth Tyler Myers and Tobias Enstrom — although the sticky contract situation involving the unsigned Jacob Trouba could serve as a distraction. Goaltending likely will remain an issue as highly touted Connor Hellebuyck, Michael Hutchinson and veteran Ondrej Pavelec will contest for playing time.

Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler has scored at least 26 goals in each of his last three seasons and recorded 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists) in 30 career meetings with Carolina.

Hurricanes F Sebastian Aho, 19, collected 45 points in as many games last season in Finland’s top professional league and could make the jump to the NHL in 2016-17.

The Jets scored just 38 power-play goals in 2015-16 and finished with a league-worst 14.8 percentage


StreakSmarts Pick: Carolina Hurricanes 

Confidence: 5/10

StreakSmarter Pick