Rangers vs. Hurricanes Odds, Pick, Prediction: Bet New York to Come Out on Top
Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images.
- The Rangers are underdogs against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night.
- Despite some suspect underlying metrics, the Rangers do have some betting value.
- Carol Schram dives into the matchup below.
Rangers vs. Hurricanes Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
It’s a battle of Metropolitan Division heavyweights on Friday night in Raleigh, when the Carolina Hurricanes play host to the New York Rangers.
New York holds a two-point lead over Carolina at the top of the division standings, and is coming off a rousing comeback victory over Toronto at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. The Hurricanes have the better points percentage, having played four fewer games than the Blueshirts, and are riding high following a 7-1 beatdown of Boston on Tuesday.
It’s the first of four meetings this season between the two clubs, who didn’t see each other last year when they were playing in different divisions. The Rangers won all four matchups in the 2019-20 season — but that was such a long time ago, Henrik Lundqvist was the winning goalie for three of those games.
Here’s the breakdown ahead of Friday’s contest, and the bet that should deliver the best bang for your buck.
Will Regression Ever Come for the Rangers?
You know the story by now. The Rangers’ underlying possession numbers aren’t at the level you’d expect for a team that’s breathing the rarified air near the top of the league standings. And those numbers aren’t even middling — they’re flat-out poor.
At 5-on-5, New York ranks last in the league in Corsi for percentage (44.31%), 30th in expected goals percentage (45.31%) and 25th in high-danger Corsi percentage (46.64%). The Rangers get out-chanced a lot, but they’ve also been getting the last laugh with surprising frequency, now with a gaudy record of 26-10-4 as they reach the midpoint of their season.
Part of the magic, of course, is Igor Shesterkin — arguably the Vezina Trophy frontrunner with his 18-4-2 record, his .938 save percentage, and his league-leading 21.8 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx).
The impact of first-year Rangers coach Gerard Gallant also should not be ignored. Like he did in the Vegas Golden Knights’ inaugural season, Gallant has unexpectedly propelled the Rangers into the conversation as one of the NHL’s elite teams, long before anybody expected. Once again, he’s living up to his reputation as a coach who can get the most out of his players, who will go through a wall for him.
Other than Sammy Blais, who’s out long term with a torn ACL, the Rangers are healthy. They’re playing back-to-back games this weekend, also hosting Arizona at MSG on Saturday, but it’s expected that Shesterkin will start in net for the important divisional matchup on Friday.
The Canes Have Excelled at Home
Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes are also playing some excellent hockey — owners of the NHL’s best overall goal differential at +45, 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and a sparkling 12-4-1 on home ice.
Carolina’s 5-on-5 possession numbers align more logically with their place in the standings. They rank second in Corsi for percentage (55.49%), seventh in expected goals percentage (53%) and eighth in high-danger Corsi percentage (53.63%). The Hurricanes also have terrific special teams — first overall in penalty-killing percentage and fifth on the power play.
Goaltender Freddie Andersen, who’s expected to start on Friday, sits right behind Shesterkin in GSAx, second in the league. In six of his last nine starts, he has allowed only one goal. That has pulled his goals-against average down to less than two per game.
The Hurricanes do have two forwards who are currently in Covid protocol: Martin Necas and Jordan Martinook.
Rangers vs. Hurricanes Pick
It’s not often that we can bet top NHL teams at plus money. The Rangers are there on Friday for the second straight game, after they rewarded the backers who took them as home underdogs against Toronto on Wednesday.
But while the Maple Leafs have had some shaky moments over the past couple of weeks, the Hurricanes’ only recent misstep was their 6-0 loss to Columbus last Friday. That felt like a very random outlier; they were very much back to their dominant selves by the time they blew out the improving Bruins on Tuesday.
If you’re a true believer in analytics, the safe bet on Friday would be to back Carolina. But since a return on -155 is a bit thin, I think the value in this situation lies with the Rangers.
Shesterkin continues to show that he can stymie even the most talented offensive teams, and the skaters in front of him are providing enough run support to convert those goaltending performances into wins on most nights.
The Rangers are at the stage where they want to show that they can hang with the big dogs. A road win over the Hurricanes is the kind of statement game they’re looking for.
Pick: Rangers (+135); play down to +110