Good sized slate of NHL hockey betting action for Monday with several early start times due to the Columbus Day holiday in the United States. One pick in a 10:05 start time game.

CAROLINA HURRICANES AT NEW JERSEY DEVILS—OCTOBER 10, 2011 10:05 AM PACIFIC

Both teams looking for their first win of the year, but I like the way that Carolina played in their OT loss at Washington. The ‘canes moved the puck around well and Eric Staal in particular looked very sharp. They were undone by their sloppy play in their own end which made things more difficult than they had to be for backup goaltender Brian Boucher who didn’t play badly considering the 36 shot barrage he faced. Now Carolina will have Cam Ward back in net facing New Jersey’s backup goaltender—Martin Broduer is going to sit out (‘rest’) and Johan Hedberg will get the start. At many points during the Devils torrid second half run last year Hedberg clearly outplayed the future Hall of Famer Brodeur so this isn’t much of a downgrade—if any.

The Devils have had the ‘canes number in recent years winning 6 of the last 8 meetings and 4 straight in New Jersey. At this stage, however, Carolina’s offense is vastly superior to New Jersey and its unlikely that the Devils can win many games with this liability. If Cam Ward gets help in front he’s often unbeatable and he may get the most help from the sputtering New Jersey offense that generated only 20 shots in their opening game loss to Philadelphia. The Devils are a team that many have pegged to struggle early in the season—they made their late season run last year based on emotion and hard work in the defensive end and that’s tough to keep up for 80 games. Carolina is the better team at an underdog price.

Bet Carolina Hurricanes +125 over New Jersey Devils

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