Bet New York will come out on top

Rangers vs. Hurricanes Odds

Rangers Odds +175
Hurricane Ratings -205
More less 6
Time 7 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get the latest NHL odds here.

It’s a Metropolitan Division heavyweight battle Friday night in Raleigh, when the Carolina Hurricanes host 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 blowout win over Toronto at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. The Hurricanes have the best point percentage, having played four fewer games than the Blueshirts, and are riding high after a 7-1 loss to Boston on Tuesday.

It is the first of four meetings this season between the two clubs, who did not see each other last year when they played in different divisions. Rangers have won all four clashes in the 2019-20 season – but that was so long ago, Henrik Lundqvist was the winning keeper for three of those games.

Here’s the breakdown ahead of Friday’s contest and the bet that should give you the best value.

Will regression ever come for Rangers?

You know the story now. Rangers’ underlying possession numbers aren’t at the level you’d expect for a team breathing thin air near the top of the league standings. And those numbers aren’t even mediocre — they’re downright poor.

At 5-on-5, New York ranks last in the league in Corsi percentage (44.31%), 30th in expected goal percentage (45.31%) and 25th in high-danger Corsi percentage (46.64%). ). Rangers are very lucky, but they’ve also had the last laugh with surprising frequency, now with a stellar record of 26-10-4 as they reach the middle of their season.

Part of the magic, of course, is Igor Shesterkin – arguably the Vezina Trophy favorite with his 18-4-2 record, .938 save percentage and record 21.8 goals over the expectations (GSAx).

The impact of first-year Rangers coach Gerard Gallant should also not be ignored. As he did in the Vegas Golden Knights’ inaugural season, Gallant unexpectedly thrust the Rangers into the conversation as one of the NHL’s elite teams, long before anyone noticed. wait. Once again, he lives up to his reputation as a coach who knows how to get the best out of his players, who will break through a wall for him.

Other than Sammy Blais, who is out long term with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the Rangers are healthy. They play back-to-back games this weekend, also hosting Arizona at MSG on Saturday, but Shesterkin is expected to start in net for the all-important division game on Friday.

The rods have excelled at home

Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes are also playing great hockey – owners of the NHL’s best goal differential at +45, 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and a sparkling 12-4-1 at home.

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 goal percentage (53%) and eighth in Corsi high danger percentage (53.63%). The Hurricanes also have terrific special teams — first overall in penalty kill percentage and fifth in power play.

Goaltender Freddie Andersen, who is expected to start on Friday, sits just behind Shesterkin in the league’s second-placed GSAx. In six of his last nine starts, he has allowed just one goal. This brought his goals-against average down to less than two per game.

The Hurricanes have two forwards who are currently under Covid protocol: Martin Necas and Jordan Martinook.

Hurricane Rangers

It’s not often that we can bet on the top teams in the NHL for more money. The Rangers are there Friday for the second game in a row, having rewarded the fans who took them as underdogs at home against Toronto on Wednesday.

But while the Maple Leafs have fallen on hard times over the past two weeks, the Hurricanes’ only recent misstep was their 6-0 loss to Columbus last Friday. It looked like a very random outlier; they had come to their senses by the time they eliminated the improving Bruins on Tuesday.

If you’re a big fan of analysis, the safe bet on Friday would be to back Carolina. But since a -155 return is a bit thin, I think the value in this situation belongs to Rangers.

Shesterkin continues to show he can thwart even the most talented offensive teams, and the skaters ahead of him provide enough running support to convert those goaltending performances into wins most nights.

Rangers are at the stage where they want to show they can hang with the big dogs. A road win against the Hurricanes is the kind of game they’re looking for.

Take: Rangers (+135); play up to +110

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