NHL Betting Preview: Rangers vs. Hurricanes Series Prediction

Alexis Lafreniere #13 of the New York Rangers reaches for the puck during the third period of the game against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on March 12, 2024 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Rangers defeat Hurricanes 1-0.

The New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes will face each other in the playoffs for the third time in the last five seasons. In 2020, Carolina (-140 series favourite) swept the Rangers in the best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifiers. However, in 2022, the Rangers (+170 series underdog) defeated the Hurricanes 4-3 in the second round. The Rangers went  2-1-0 straight up against the Hurricanes in the regular season.

Handicapping the Rangers (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS, 2-2 O/U) 

Igor Shesterkin’s 9-8 career record versus the Hurricanes might not look all that impressive because he went 1-6 in his first seven games played against Carolina. However, he’s allowed two or fewer goals in 10 out of his 17 career games played against the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes have scored 3.29 goals per game dating back to the start of the 2022-23 season. However, they’ve scored just 2.29 goals per game against the Rangers during that time. The 28-year-old started every game against Carolina in the regular season, boasting a .915 save percentage. Carolina lit up Shesterkin once this season, scoring six goals on 27 shots in a 6-1 win over the Rangers on Jan. 2. Shesterkin has won eight of his last 11 starts against Carolina, though, dating back to the second round in 2022.

However, while the Rangers did sweep the Washington Capitals in round one, they didn’t dominate Washington at even strength. According to Evolving Hockey, New York finished with a 47 percent share of expected goals against the Capitals. The Rangers were deadly on special teams, though, going 6-16 on the power play. New York also killed off 15 of Washington’s 17 power play opportunities. Not to mention, the Rangers spent a large chunk of the first round (168:35 out of 2:40 total time on ice) playing with the lead, according to Natural Stat Trick. They had the luxury of being able to sit back a bit, but that won’t be an option against Carolina. New York needs all of its top stars to play their best hockey in round two, not just Shesterkin.

New York Rangers Stanley Cup Winner


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Handicapping the Hurricanes (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS, 2-3 O/U)

Whether they were blowing a 3-0 lead, or erasing a 3-0 deficit, Carolina showed that they are capable of winning in different ways. It wasn’t always pretty, but the Hurricanes did start to regain form as the series went on. Carolina finished the first round owning 60.6 percent of the even-strength shot attempts. The Islanders blocked 117 shots in five games and did a decent job limiting Carolina’s chances, but their only win came in double overtime in Game 4.

It might be tougher for Carolina to dictate the pace of play in round two, but it probably won’t be as difficult to penetrate the slot. During the last 10 weeks of the regular season, the Islanders ranked fifth in high-danger shot attempts against (per 60), while the Rangers ranked 18th, according to Natural Stat Trick. Of course, offensively, the Rangers are going to provide a much bigger test for the Hurricanes than the Islanders did. New York and Carolina finished neck-and-neck, both among the top 10 teams in goals per 60 minutes.

Carolina went 15-5 straight up to end the regular season following the acquisitions of Jake Guentzel and Evgeny Kuznetsov. The Hurricanes were the top team in expected goals and shot attempts at even strength during that period, owning a 60 percent share in each category. They have not had success against New York over the last two seasons, though, going 2-5 straight up, and one of their five losses since the trade deadline has come at the hands of the Rangers.

Carolina Hurricanes Stanley Cup Winner


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Rangers vs. Hurricanes Series Prediction

The Rangers might not have an obvious edge in any other category, but they certainly appear to have the best goaltender in the series, and that might be enough. As the Presidents’ Trophy winner, the Rangers will start the series on home ice, which is an advantage they did not have in 2022 when they lost Games 1 and 2. Additionally, the Rangers were just as good on special teams during the regular season, with both teams finishing among the top three on the power play and the penalty kill. 

However, Carolina’s ability to dominate during 5-on-5 play means that they’re rated significantly higher than the Rangers. Therefore, the Hurricanes’ chances of winning a given game in the series will never be below 50 percent, and that means they will win the series close to 60 percent of the time. Below you can see that Carolina won the series in 60 percent of simulations. However, the series is expected to go over 5.5 games approximately 61.5 percent of the time.

Team4 Games5 Games6 games7 GamesWin Series
New York4%9.8%11.3%14.8%40%
Rangers vs. Hurricanes Series Probabilities

Check out this article to learn how to predict the winner of a best-of-7 playoff series.

Rangers vs. Hurricanes Game 1 Odds

New York is currently listed as a slight favourite (-113) at NorthStar Bets, while the Hurricanes are listed at -104. Meanwhile, the game total (o/u 5.5) is priced as a pick ‘em, which makes sense considering 10 out of the last 17 meetings between these two teams have featured five goals or fewer. According to my model, home-ice advantage is the only thing keeping the Rangers from being an underdog, but it’ll take plus money to make it worthwhile to bet on either of these teams to win the series opener.

Game 1: Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Rangers

u5.5 -109

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Conn Smythe Contenders

No surprise that Igor Shesterkin is the leading candidate for the Rangers, with 11/1 odds to win the Conn Smythe trophy as the playoff MVP. Mika Zibanejad led the Rangers with one goal and six assists in their sweep of the Capitals, but Artemi Panarin (2-1-3, 4 GP) is next up on the Rangers. Of course, he’s a much longer shot than Shesterkin at 30/1 odds. Zibanejad is listed at 40/1 to win the Conn Smythe, as is teammate Adam Fox (0-2-2, 4 GP). Meanwhile, Jake Guentzel (1-3-4, 5 GP) is the current Conn Smythe favourite for the Hurricanes at 15/1 odds. Sebastian Aho (2-1-3, 5 GP) is right there with him at 17/1, though,. Seth Jarvis, who leads the Hurricanes with three goals and four assists so far in the playoffs, is listed at 20/1 to be named playoff MVP.

Igor Shesterkin Conn Smythe Trophy Winner


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