NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Rangers vs. Hurricanes

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Rangers vs. Hurricanes article feature image

Josh Lavallee/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Jaccob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes.

  • The Carolina Hurricanes host the New York Rangers on Saturday night.
  • Carolina sits atop the Metropolitan Division, but New York is looking to close the gap in the stretch run.
  • Tony Sartori digs into this matchup and offers up his best bet below.

Rangers vs. Hurricanes Odds

Rangers Odds+160
Hurricanes Odds-194
Over/Under6.5 (+1-2/-124)
Time7 p.m. ET
TVNHL Network
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

There is a big Metropolitan Division tilt set to take place Saturday evening with the first-place Carolina Hurricanes hosting the third-place New York Rangers.

Carolina looks to hold onto its vice grip of the Metro while the new-look Rangers look to build upon last night's victory following the addition of winger Vladimir Tarasenko.

Here's a look at the odds, as well as our betting pick and prediction for Rangers vs Hurricanes.

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New York Rangers

The New York Rangers are on the second half of a back-to-back following a victory over the Seattle Kraken. Tarasenko's impact was immediate as he scored on his first touch as a Ranger, following a silky pass from superstar winger Artemi Panarin.

However, since New York is on the second half of a back-to-back and reigning Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin got the nod last night, we can expect backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak to start against the Canes. While Halak possesses solid surface-level stats and is a more-than-serviceable backup, his underlying metrics are no where close to Shesterkin's.

If he qualified, Halak would rank just 21st among starting goaltenders in goals saved above expected per 60 minutes (GSAx/60) at 5-on-5. Why is this problematic?

Well, Shesterkin typically bails out a relatively average team in front of him. At 5-on-5, New York ranks just 22nd in the league in expected goals for per 60 minutes (xGF/60) and 14th in expected goals against per 60 minutes (xGA/60).

That is the main reason the Rangers are just .500 (7-7) when Halak starts.

Carolina Hurricanes

Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes are in dominant form and are truly looking like the team to beat in the East, alongside the Boston Bruins. Not only has Carolina won 12 of its past 17 games, but seven of those 12 wins came by at least a two-goal margin.

This strong play is likely to continue with goaltender Frederik Andersen slated to take the crease for the Canes. Andersen has looked tremendous since coming back from a lower-body injury in the beginning of January. In his seven starts since returning to the crease, Andersen is 6-0 with a .919 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.19 goals against average (GAA).

It helps Andersen's cause that Carolina boasts one of the best blue lines in the league in front of him. At 5-on-5, the Canes rank first in xGA/60.

Additionally, Andersen should get plenty of goal support against New York's backup netminder as Carolina ranks second in the league in xGF/60 at 5-on-5.

Rangers vs. Hurricanes Pick

Considering Andersen's recent form, he is either a wash with Halak or slightly better. Assuming the goaltending is a wash, the Canes are the team to back considering how much more efficient they are at 5-on-5 — both offensively and defensively.

Additionally, this game takes place at PNC Arena, which is one of the most difficult environments to play in for road teams. Carolina is far more rested since it hasn't played since prior to the All-Star break and the Rangers are on the second half of a back-to-back and playing their third game in four nights.

Pick: Hurricanes -1.5 | Play to +100

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