The New York Rangers dropped another game on the road to the Carolina Hurricanes in what has been a very consistent series so far.
With Thursday’s 3-1 loss, New York now trails the best-of-seven series three games to two and faces a must-win scenario Saturday in Game 6 (ESPN, 8 p.m.).
Home Is Where the Bets Are
To the delight of NY sports betting, players however, the Rangers will be back at home, where they have won five consecutive games, including Games 3 and 4 of this series.
The Rangers are slight favorites to continue this trend in the sixth game of the series at odds of -145 at Caesars Sportsbook New York.
Another consistency in the series has been the stingy defensive play of both teams. That’s a carryover from the regular season, in which the two Metropolitan Division rivals finished atop the league in fewest goals against. This has led to the game total at most sportsbooks to be dropped to 5.5 for much of the series, a very low total but one where th under has hit in all five games.
BetMGM Sportsbook New York has dropped the over-under at 5 goals even for Game 6.
Rangers-Hurricanes Schedule, Results
As is usually the case in NHL betting when the unders keep hitting, both goalies had strong games. Especially Igor Shesterkin, the Rangers’ Hart and Vezina Trophy candidate, who once again faced more than 30 shots and played well.
Antti Raanta was much less busy (16 saves on 17 shots), but got the win.
With both goalies on their games and the Carolina defense really tightening, it’s no surprise to see the game total at such a low number.
Special teams played a huge role in Game 5, with the Hurricanes’ elite penalty kill nabbing a shorthanded goal in the first period to give them the lead. Vincent Trocheck converted a feed from captain Jordan Staal to open the scoring. Carolina then allowed a power play goal later in the first period to the Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad but answered with a power play marker in the second period as Teuvo Teravainen buried a cross-ice feed from Seth Jarvis for his fourth of the postseason.
What Rangers Must Do to Stay Alive
For the Rangers to have any success Saturday and in a potential Game 7, they need to keep scoring on the power play as the Hurricanes continue to dominate at even strength.
New York also failed to get that crucial first goal, a key pointed to in a previous preview.
The stars for the Rangers played really well in the last two home games but, aside from Zibanejad’s goal with the extra man, they weren’t able to generate much offense in Game 5.
Back at home, with the last change, New York coach Gerard Gallant can get his top two lines out on the ice in the matchups he wants. He clearly is struggling to get them in a position to succeed while in Carolina.
Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider and Adam Fox all had success in Games 3 and 4 and it is crucial that they do so again if New York wants to keep its season alive.
The job of stopping the Carolina offense, which is spread out across all four lines, largely rests on Shesterkin’s shoulders. Carolina really has carried the play over the last few games and that should be expected to continue into Game 6.
Shesterkin is clearly comfortable with the heavy workload as he allowed only two goals while facing 78 shots in the Rangers’ two earlier wins in the series.
New York is currently +330 to win the series at Caesars and +2200 to win the Stanley Cup at BetMGM, odds that reflect their trailing position in their current series. More urgently, they need to come through in Game 6 as favorites on home ice to extend the series, and their season, to a decisive Game 7.