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Hurricanes, Rangers Kick Off NHL’s Eastern Conference Playoffs

Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers takes a shot against the New York Islanders during the second period of the exhibition game prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The New York Rangers will try to pull off an early upset to open the qualifying round of the 2020 NHL playoffs as small underdogs against the favored Carolina Hurricanes, who ended the regular season with two more points but played one more game.

New York Rangers vs Carolina Hurricanes
  • Date/Time: August 1, 12:00 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Scotiabank Arena
  • TV Coverage: NBCSN
  • Opening Odds: Hurricanes -145 | O/U 6 (Line History)
  • Rangers vs Hurricanes Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Early wagering action has come in on the Rangers, who appear to be a popular pick by bettors as dogs in the first game of the best-of-five series. New York is down to +110 at some sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark, with Game 1 obviously very important.

New York News & Notes

The Rangers – led by scoring dynamo Artemi Panarin (95 points on 32 goals and 63 assists) – have received a lot of love because you can argue they have more talent than their opponent and may benefit from the long layoff more than most teams in the qualifying round. Winger Chris Kreider (45 points), who was one of New York’s best players before fracturing his foot, has also returned to action and immediately improves a team that lost four of six games down the stretch after winning eight of nine.

But it will be a game-time decision as to whether veteran Henrik Lundqvist (10-12-3, 3.16 Goals Against Average) or youngster Igor Shesterkin (10-2, 2.52) will start between the pipes, and that key decision could very well be the difference in determining the outcome of this series.

Carolina News & Notes

Much like the goaltender situation for the Rangers, the Hurricanes have a tough decision to make between Petr Mrazek (21-16-2, 2.69) or James Reimer (14-6-2, 2.66). Of course they are happy to have both available after the team had to deal with having neither back in February due to injuries. One key injury for Carolina though is that of All-Star defenseman Dougie Hamilton (14 goals and 26 assists), who has been officially declared out for the series opener due to undisclosed reasons.

Hamilton has not been practicing recently after briefly returning from a broken leg at the start of training camp. Regardless, the Hurricanes do have the experience of last season’s postseason run to draw from, when they advanced all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals before bowing out.

Betting Pick: Hurricanes -125

As the public has come out and made an early case for New York with their money, there has likewise been an increasing amount of value on Carolina as a small favorite. At least that is the argument here, with the Hurricanes getting a clean slate too after losing five straight meetings with the Rangers dating back to early 2019. Experience matters here.

Shark Bites
  • The Rangers are 5-0 SU in their last 5 vs the Hurricanes.
  • The UNDER is 4-2 in the last 6 meetings between these teams.
  • The Hurricanes are 3-0 SU in their last 3 road games.