The New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes are now engaged in a best-of-three situation. Both teams won their two home games in Round 2 and now head back to Carolina for a pivotal Game 5. The Hurricanes have not lost at home during this year’s postseason but haven’t earned a victory on the road either. The Rangers carry all the momentum heading into Carolina after convincingly winning their last two games. With at least two games remaining between the two teams, you can choose to take the favourite, chase value, or take a chance at the home run play.
The Favourite – Hurricanes as Outright Winners (-126)
Despite dropping their last two games, the Hurricanes are still heavy favourites to win the series. In both losses, they out-shot the Rangers 75-61 and out-chanced them. Antti Raanta struggled at moments, and the team showed cracks in their armor as the series started heating up. They can get back on track as they hit home ice, knowing they have yet to lose a game in front of their fans.
The Hurricanes have the luxury of playing the next two of three at home, which bodes well for their home record this postseason. If they can stick to their plan of keeping things tight defensively, continuing to own possession, and holding the advantage in shots, the Hurricanes will be just fine. They’ll need to figure out a way to beat Igor Shesterkin more than once, and striking on the power play is a good place to start.
The Value Pick – Hurricanes in 6 or 7 (+225)
Whether it’s in six games or seven, a good value pick is to take the Hurricanes. As mentioned earlier, the Hurricanes hold home-ice advantage and haven’t lost on home ice yet, making them easy favourites to win. The goaltending matchup has witnessed the two netminders exchanging big saves, and the defense corps are comparable. It will all come down to which stars can outshine the other.
One thing the Hurricanes got away from in Games 3 and 4 was their ability to pounce on mistakes. The Rangers’ defense, at times, looked shaky when handling the puck in their own end, but the Hurricanes never pressured them enough to capitalize. We saw this in the first two games, so a return to basics will reap great rewards. If they can thwart the uprise on offense from players like Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, they’ll be in the driver’s seat.
The Home Run Play – Rangers in 6 or 7 (+340)
The Rangers’ top players certainly chose a good time to show up, and with the series tied, they’re in a good position to upset the Hurricanes. They’re not only seeing results from the top lines but from depth as well. Their third line has looked dominant thus far, and Andrew Copp had his best game of the entire postseason in Game 4. If Shesterkin continues to stand on his head and bail the team out, New York could be singing their way into the Eastern Conference Final.
One player who really stood out in Games 3 and 4 was Adam Fox. Both offensively and defensively, he was the Rangers’ most consistent player. When the puck was on his stick, it felt like something was about to happen. He did a phenomenal job closing the gap and getting his stick in passing lanes, breaking up any rush opportunities the Hurricanes attempted. If Fox continues to play at this level, the Rangers won’t have to worry about giving up as many shots as they have if most of them are coming from the outside.
Odds via Yahoo and FanDuel
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