Rangers Squeeze Into PostseasonThe New York Rangers are entering their qualification-round matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes as the 11th best team of the Eastern Conference, despite finishing 2nd from the bottom in the Metropolitan Division before the coronavirus outbreak (37-28-5). The team has posted just two victories in its last seven fixtures (2-4-1) after losing just once in 10 contests prior (9-1-0). Hart Trophy finalist Artemi Panarin leads the Blueshirts with 95 regular-season points (32 goals, 63 assists), while Mika Zibanejad (75 points) has collected the most strikes (41).
It's so close. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/7LRmlrENB0— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) July 30, 2020
Goalie Igor Shesterkin started 12 games during the regular campaign, posting a 10-2-0 total with a 2.52 GAA and a .932 save percentage. He has won his only previous start against the Canes, allowing two goals on 29 shots in a 5-2 victory for New York back on Feb. 21, and is 2-2-0 versus the Metropolitan Division historically with a 3.29 GAA and a .909 save percentage. The Rangers ended the regular season, sitting 5th in most goals scored per game (3.33), 8th in most goals conceded on average (3.14), 7th in power play (22.9%) and 23rd in penalty kill (77.4%)
Canes Finish 6th In The EastThe Carolina Hurricanes will face the New York Rangers after finishing the regular season in the 6th position of the Eastern Conference, ending up 4th in the Metropolitan Division with a 38-25-5 record. The team went into the coronavirus break on the back of three consecutive road victories, beating the New York Islanders (3-2 in overtime), Pittsburgh Penguins (6-2) and Detroit Red Wings (5-2) on the spin after dropping four straight decisions prior (0-3-1). Sebastian Aho leads the Canes with 38 regular-season goals and 66 points, while Teuvo Teravainen (63 points) has picked up the most assists (48).
Sights set on Saturday pic.twitter.com/E16kncx2xw— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) July 30, 2020
After 38 starts and 40 appearances this year, goalie Petr Mrazek has gone 21-16-2 for the ongoing campaign with a 2.69 GAA and a .905 save percentage. He has recorded a 3-4-0 career total against the Blueshirts with a 3.03 GAA and a .886 save percentage. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, were scoring the 11th highest quantity of goals per game prior to the lockdown (3.19), while allowing the 11th lowest number of snipes on average (2.84). They were 8th in power play (22.3%) and 4th in penalty kill (84.0%).
- Hurricanes are 17-5 in their last 22 playoff games as a favorite.
- Hurricanes are 20-7 in their last 27 Saturday games.
- Rangers are 2-5 in their last 7 playoff games as an underdog.
- Rangers are 2-5 in their last 7 overall.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Eastern Conference qualifying-round matchup between the Rangers and the Hurricanes was always going to be about New York’s potent offensive corps trying to overcome Carolina’s solid defense. Having said that, the Blueshirts lauded forward line, which finished the regular season with the 5th highest amount of goals scored per game in the league (3.33), failed miserably in Wednesday’s exhibition outing against the New York Islanders, who edged out their neighbors with a count of 2-1. Filip Chytil scored the only snipe for the Blueshirts, while Artemi Panarin failed to register a single shot on goal. The Hurricanes also lost their Wednesday’s preparation outing (3-2 against the Washington Capitals) and looked rusty, but still managed to outshoot the Caps 27-25, win 66% of all the face-offs and go 4-for-5 on penalty kill. Carolina eased into its usual type of play in the final 20 minutes of the matchup and will be ready to face Rangers, who have beaten them on the last five occasions, but have failed in five of their previous seven playoff outings as an underdog.
Prediction: Carolina Hurricanes (-130)
Full-Game Total Pick
The Rangers and the Hurricanes combined only for three goals between them in their respective exhibition outings on Wednesday. And while three of the last four head-to-head encounters between the two sides have witnessed at least six snipes on the scoreboard, it looks like both teams will need just a tad more time to shake off their offensive rustiness. After allowing two or less goals in their previous contest, the Blueshirts have gone below the set goal-mark in 14 of their last 21 matchups, while five of the past seven games of Carolina, played following a rest of two days, have all been low-scoring affairs.
Prediction: Under 6