The top two teams from the Metropolitan Division will go head-to-head in the second round to see who will advance to the Eastern Conference final. The Carolina Hurricanes (58-23-8), who have home-ice advantage against the New York Rangers (56-26-7), are -190 to win the series. See below for more insight, analysis and a Rangers vs Hurricanes prediction for the series opener tonight in Raleigh.
Rangers vs Hurricanes Odds & Analysis
As expected, the home team opened as the favorite for Game 1. Carolina outscored the Rangers 14-10 in winning three of four regular-season meetings, including two last month. The total opened at 6.5, but quickly fell to 5.5 on most sites. The Rangers are playing firewagon hockey with the OVER going 7-0 in their last seven games.
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Rangers Expecting More From Igor Shesterkin
A fitting name for the New York Rangers right now could be the Comeback Kids. They came back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Penguins in the first round to win it in seven games and also trailed at some point in all three elimination games.
They were led by their stars, including Artemi Panarin, who scored the Game 7 overtime winner, and Chris Kreider, who found the back of the net five times in the series. But it was Mika Zibanejad who put the team on his shoulders when they needed it the most. He had four points in Game 6 and led the way with three more in Game 7. He also recorded at least one point in all four regular-season meetings vs Carolina.
But the Rangers will only go as far as goaltender Igor Shesterkin takes them. The likely Vezina Trophy winner was busy in the opening round, making a franchise-record 252 saves in the series. But he was pulled in Games 3 and 4 after allowing 10 goals in just three periods of play and finished the series with an uncharacteristically high goals-against average of 3.66.
Carolina Rearguards Leading The Way Offensively
Sebastian Aho has been the face of this franchise for many years now and has led the team in scoring in five straight seasons. And while he is still their best offensive player, you may be surprised to hear that it’s a pair of defensemen who are leading the Hurricanes in scoring in the postseason. Both Jaccob Slavin and Tony DeAngelo recorded eight points in their first-round series vs Boston. Aho, though, was no slouch, finishing the low-scoring series with five points.
If the Canes are going to beat the Rangers, they will need to do so with Antti Raanta between the pipes as Frederik Andersen remains sidelined. Raanta went 3-2 with a GAA of 2.37 and a .927 save percentage in six starts in the opening round against the Bruins.
It should be noted that there are six former Rangers on the Hurricanes roster, including the aforementioned DeAngelo and Raanta, so added motivation could come into play when making your Rangers vs Hurricanes pick.
Rangers vs Hurricanes Pick & Insights
Rangers: Keys To Victory
Special teams. The Rangers power play ran at over 31 percent in the opening round, led by Adam Fox, who became just the fourth blue-liner in league history to record a point in all seven games of a series. If he can continue to produce with the man advantage, then New York will have a chance to avoid playing Comeback Kids again.
Hurricanes: Keys To Victory
Home-ice advantage. The Hurricanes held off the Rangers in the regular season to earn home ice and it has already paid off. They won all four games at PNC Arena in the opening round and have won six straight overall. If head coach Rod Brind’Amour can get the matchups he wants, then Carolina’s aggressive style of play should pay dividends.
NHL Computer Pick: OVER 5.5
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Odds Shark Staff Mon, Jun 27, 1:28pm