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. This is where you’ll find everything, including team win odds, the over/under, and point spreads.
New York Rangers (+125) vs Carolina Hurricanes (-155)
NYR: 6-5, 3.27 GF/GP, 3.18 GA/GP
CAR: 6-5, 2.73 GF/GP, 2.55 GA/GP
The Hurricanes enter Game 5 as heavy favourites, which makes sense, considering they haven’t lost a game on home ice this postseason. In Round 1 against the Boston Bruins, both teams won all home games, and the same can be said for Round 2 against the Rangers. After allowing one goal in his first two starts, Antti Raanta surrendered six in Games 3 and 4. He faced over 30 shots in Game 3, a first in this series, and struggled to weather the storm in Game 4. The Hurricanes will hope for him to be back in form tonight.
Antti Raanta, Carolina Hurricanes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
The Rangers may be the underdog heading into Carolina, but if there’s one team that can earn a road win, it’s them. They were 25-14-2 during the regular season and boasted the league’s fourth-best goals-against per game with 2.71. With the arrival of top-line production from Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad and the contributions from their third line, they’re in a good position to snap Carolina’s home win streak. Taking a road win tonight puts doubt into the Hurricanes’ heads and sends the series back to New York, where the Rangers can end it all in front of their fans.
Carolina – Win By More Than 1 Goal (-1.5, +170)
The series between these two teams is likely to continue the pattern of home teams winning. The Rangers may have all the momentum heading into Game 5, but there are several factors at play. Rod Brind’Amour’s strategy of line combinations and ice management puts him in the driver’s seat with the last change. He’s countered the Rangers’ top-six efficiently in Games 1 and 2, as Gerard Gallant did in the next two games. The coaching duel is one for the ages and has both Gallant and Brind’Amour playing a game of chess, waiting for the other to slip up.
The Hurricanes have a whopping 1.17 GA/GP, which leads the league during this year’s postseason. They’ve allowed two goals or less when playing in front of their home crowd and have averaged 3.67 goals per game. Systematically, there is no better team defensively when playing at home, especially when it comes to limiting shots. They’ve allowed under 30 shots against in their last three home games, leading to Raanta’s one shutout and three goals against during that span.
Total Goals Scored – Under 5.5 (-140)
Let’s remain with the under for total goals scored, as both teams have combined for five goals or less in all four meetings in this series. Carolina has done a phenomenal job on home ice when it comes to limiting shots and forcing those that hit the net to come from low-danger areas. Their strategy of keeping things tight and pouncing on mistakes worked well in the first two games, and they effectively shut down the Rangers’ offense. Sebastian Aho had two goals and an assist during that span and will be a key factor to the Hurricanes for the remainder of this series.
Louis Domingue of the Pittsburgh Penguins defends his net against Mika Zibanejad of the New York Rangers (Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Rangers will hope that the production from players like Zibanejad and Kreider carries over and that Artemi Panarin gets going. So far, he’s been reduced to one assist, seven shots on goal, and a minus-1 rating after four games. Having Panarin step up gives the Rangers an effective trio of scoring, along with Adam Fox contributing from the back end. The Rangers will need to muster up a collective effort if they hope to be the first team to win a postseason game on Carolina ice.
Odds via Yahoo and BetMGM.
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