The Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers won their opening-round series in seven games on the way to meeting each other in Round 2.
While the Hurricanes took control of their series with Boston early and always felt in control, the Rangers took a much different route. They fell behind 3-1 in the series to the Pittsburgh Penguins early and star goaltender Igor Shesterkin was even pulled from two straight losses in Pittsburgh.
Seemingly out of it, the Rangers never quit and staged a comeback before winning the series on a game seven overtime goal by Artemi Panarin.
The second-round series opens with the Hurricanes as big favorites. At -190 odds to win the series, bookmakers are clearly expecting the Hurricanes to advance to the Easteen Conference final.
One of the reasons for the favorable odds could be the Hurricanes’ 3-1 regular season record against the Rangers, including a late-season 4-3 win that clinched the Metropolitan Division for Carolina, also giving the Canes home ice advantage for this series.
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Bettors should be looking to wager the under 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.
Rangers vs. Hurricanes Series Schedule
- Game 1: Wednesday, 7 p.m. at Carolina.
- Game 2: Friday, 8 p.m. at Carolina.
- Game 3: Sunday, 3:30 p.m. at New York.
- Game 4: May 24, 7 p.m. at New York.
- Game 5: May 26, TBD, at Carolina (if necessary).
- Game 6: May 28, TBD, at New York (if necessary).
- Game 7: May 30, TBD, at Carolina (if necessary).
Defense Leads Way for Canes
The Hurricanes get the job done through team defense and 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.
The Rangers take a different approach, allowing a ton of chances but relying on the all-world ability of Hart Trophy nominee and heavy Vezina Trophy favorite Shesterkin. Despite getting pulled twice in the opening round, Shesterkin bounced back with three straight big wins and seems to have shaken off some early season playoff jitters.
Special teams will also play a big role in this series, with the Rangers’ elite power play going up against the Canes’ league-best penalty kill. Carolina also takes quite a few penalties, so New York will no doubt have chances to put it to the test. But expecting the Rangers PP to click at the 25% rate it did over the regular season or the 30% clip it did in the first round is probably foolish.
Updated Stanley Cup Odds
Carolina Forward Depth Impressive
If the Hurricanes are to deliver on their position as favorites in the series it will be because of their strong depth and excellent system they play as coach Rod Brind’Amour consistently puts his team in solid position to win games. While it can be argued they lack a true game-breaking superstar, the Hurricanes have incredible depth up and down the lineup and can score on you with every line.
No forward really stood out in the opening round and that is by design with this team as a different player or line can be the difference nightly. Teuvo Teravainen and Vincent Trocheck were point-per-game forwards in the opening round and Carolina also has stars Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov to lean on for offense.
It was actually the defensemen leading the way offensively as Jaccob Slavin and Tony DeAngelo tied for the team scoring lead with eight points apiece vs. the Bruins. DeAngelo will be counted on to continue to produce offense while Slavin’s primary objective is to shut down the stars on the Rangers, a job he does better than anyone in the league.
The odds are already out for the first game with the Hurricanes -170 favorites to hold serve at home and win the opening game. Bookmakers are aware of the teams’ stinginess as the over/under is set at a low mark of 5.5 with the over at -120 and the under a slight dog at +100. Cashing in an early win would be a great start to the series for the Hurricanes and would send Carolina bettors home happy with a lead to start the series.