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NHL Predictions: Carolina Hurricanes Three Keys to Victory vs Buffalo Sabres

Carolina Hurricanes predictions

This round of NHL Predictions sees the Carolina Hurricanes looking for the season sweep over the Buffalo Sabres. This is the third and final matchup between these two. Carolina pulled out a 3-2 OT win in the first game and a 6-2 win in the second. Both previous matchups were in Carolina but this one sees the teams battling in Buffalo.

Buffalo has had another unfortunately disappointing season. With some offseason and early season optimism, the Sabres again found themselves in a slide as the season moved forward. In their last ten they are 6-4-0 and come into this one as winners of their last two, and three of their last four. Casey Mittelstadt, a source of NHL trade deadline rumours, leads the team in points with 44.

Carolina enters this one looking to maintain their positioning in the playoff picture. As the second game of a back-to-back following a matchup with the Dallas Stars at home on Saturday, Spencer Martin may see another return between the pipes. His last outing was a 6-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. While this one for Carolina isn’t against as big of a heavyweight as their last two, it is still an important game against a team that can make you pay. Carolina will need to be sharp. Here are three keys to a Hurricanes victory.

NHL Predictions: Carolina Hurricanes vs Buffalo Sabres

Three Keys to Victory for Carolina

Four Lines Rolling

Carolina’s game is marked by a few things. But one of those is that they really like to have everyone involved throughout the lineup. The goal scoring is spread up and down without it really weighing too heavily at the top in comparison to many other teams. It doesn’t mean they don’t have designated forward lines, but sometimes lines two through four can be less distinct. But this is important for this team.

Playing heavy on the forecheck and responsible defensively, the next line up becomes the next man up to stay on the opposition and take away any space to breathe. This is their game. And they will need that from all four lines to overpower the Sabres. The team shouldn’t have any passengers. By doing so the Carolina Hurricanes may get the prediction below with production from anywhere throughout the lineup. If a line takes the night off, the Sabres are very capable to make them pay.

Defensive Pressure

Carolina’s defensive game has remained strong this year. They remain in the top five in expected goals against at 102.07 with only a -0.07 goals against above expected. But Carolina also likes to get their defence engaged offensively. Defencemen like Brent Burns, Brady Skjei and Tony DeAngelo all have strong offensive abilities. But others like Jaccob Slavin, Dmitry Orlov and Jalen Chatfield are counted on to chip in on the score sheet too. Whether its jumping in and joining the rush or looking for shots from the point, Carolina’s defence has 33 of the team’s 187 goals this season.

Not only is it important for any team to have production from the back end, but for a team like Carolina who leans into this as a strength, it will be a big piece to pulling out a win here. If the Hurricanes defencemen can jump up and contribute offensively, it could spell trouble for the Sabres. While they won’t necessarily score every game, the defence providing offence can go a long way to making the difference between a win and a loss for Carolina.

Another Moment in Net

Whether its Pyotr Kochetkov, Spencer Martin or a miraculous return of Frederik Andersen, Carolina having a reliable presence in net is a game changer. The beginning of the season was marked by inconsistency and a lot of that was due to some shaky goaltending. But even though injuries and other situations have remained, Carolina’s netminders have found a little more rhythm. Kochetkov had stellar shutout performances against the New Jersey Devils and the Florida Panthers over the last few weeks. If he can keep up that play on a consistent level, Carolina may have found their goalie for the foreseeable future.

But Martin has been solid as well in a backup role. He put up impressive performances against the Boston Bruins and Vegas Golden Knights. He then added to that with a win against the Chicago Blackhawks. While his .824 SV% against Chicago wasn’t necessarily impressive, he did enough to lead the team to a win. They drastically limited shots against which sometimes can be tricky for a goalie. The team also seemed to get complacent at the end being up by a decent margin so its hard to put that all on Martin.

The big story here is that once again, Carolina will need solid play in net. Even if the goalie doesn’t have to win the game himself, being rock solid will provide the team with confidence to play their game aggressively.

Prediction Time

This is a matchup between two teams looking at different sides of the playoff demarcation line. Buffalo looks to keep its fans happy, progress as a team in a positive way, and keep any chance of the playoff dream alive. Meanwhile, Carolina looks to stay atop the Metropolitan Division and maintain their great play since 2024 rolled around. Carolina can’t sleep on Buffalo as they have many threats like Jeff Skinner, Alex Tuch, Rasmus Dahlin and Mittelstadt. But if Carolina can play their game and adhere to these three keys, they should have a shot at leaving Buffalo with a W.

Prediction: Carolina wins 4-2

Main Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports


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