The Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers won their opening-round series in seven games en route to meeting each other in Round 2.
While Carolina took control of its series with Boston early and always felt in control, the Rangers took a much different route. They fell behind three games to one to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Rangers star goaltender Igor Shesterkin was even pulled from two consecutive losses in Pittsburgh.
The Rangers seemed out of it but they never quit and came back to win the series on a Game 7 overtime goal by Artemi Panarin.
Sizing Up the Odds
Though the Rangers have won three in a row, they are sizable underdogs to Carolina in NHL betting at New York sportsbooks.
DraftKings Sportsbook New York has the Rangers at +160 odds to win the series. You can pick the Rangers to win in four games at +550, five at +260, six at +210 and seven games at +215.
The Rangers are a 1.5-goal and +140 moneyline underdog at FanDuel Sportsbook New York for Game 1 Wednesday at Carolina.
New York bettors interested in picking the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup can get them at +1400 with FanDuel Sportsbook. That ties them for sixth with the Edmonton Oilers among the eight remaining NHL teams. Carolina is third, at +500, to win the Cup.
Bettors should be looking to bet the unders throughout the series as the two teams were the stingiest in the league in the regular season. Carolina allowed a league-low 202 goals and New York was right behind at 207. PointsBet Sportsbook New York has set the over-under for Game 1 at 5.5 goals.
Sizing Up the Teams
The Hurricanes get the job done through team defense.
Any goaltender seems to thrive in their net, as evidenced by the success of Antti Raanta in the opening-round series win over Boston in relief of injured Frederick Andersen, who was spectacular throughout the regular season.
New York takes a different approach, allowing a ton of chances but relying on the all-world ability of Igor Shesterkin, a Hart Trophy finalist and heavy Vezina Trophy favorite.
Despite getting pulled twice in the opening round, Shesterkin bounced back with three consecutive big wins and seems to have shaken off some early playoff jitters.
Special teams also will play a big role in this series, with the Rangers’ elite power play going up against the Hurricanes’ league-best penalty kill.
Carolina also takes quite a few penalties, so New York certainly will have chances.
However, expecting the Rangers’ power play to click at the 25% rate it did over the regular season or the 30% it did in the first round is probably foolish.
If the Rangers are to beat the odds and have success, of course it will heavily be due to Shesterkin.
Still, a lot will fall on the offense. Mika Zibanejad heated up near the end of the Penguins series and posted 11 points. Stud defenseman Adam Fox was right behind him with 10. Chris Kreider and Panarin also were better than a point per game.
Kreider, in particular, was a beast on special teams, leading the league in power-play goals in the regular season but also using his speed to score on the PK
The biggest liability the Rangers will have to overcome is their defense corps, a group that gave up a ton of chances to the Penguins. That defense now will face a similarly structured Carolina team that figures to carry the play for long stretches and probably will heavily outshoot the Rangers.
Analysis For Series
After a long, seven-game series, Shesterkin is going to have to be ready to be thrown right back into the fire. He should expect to see more than 35 shots a night. If Shesterkin can stay fresh enough to give the team four quality performances, New York will have a great chance to upset the division-winning Hurricanes and cash in winning tickets for New York bettors.
Bookmakers are aware of the teams’ stinginess with the low over-under mark of 5.5 set for Game 1.
Cashing in an early win would be a great start for the Rangers as they look to keep the momentum going from their thrilling first-round comeback.