Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:35 PM EST.
7:05 PM EST. OT included. We understand that the Rangers are going to get outplayed and outshot here. That’s a given because the Hurricanes are a possession monster compared to the Rags and spend much more time in the offensive end than the Rags also. However, every single night in the NHL when there are four games or more, teams’ get outplayed and win because goaltending is the #1 deciding factor in determining the outcome. Last night, the Islanders got outshot 52-26 and won 5-2. Saturday, Pittsburgh outshot Toronto 38-21 and won 5-2. On Thursday, Winnipeg got outshot by the Devils 43-24 and won 3-2. We could go through the entire NHL schedule and give you examples daily of the same thing. Without goaltending you cannot win consistently in this league and that’s where the Carolina Hurricanes get hit over the head with a steel bat almost every week. This is a team without a four-game winning streak all season and that is 13-25 against the top-16 teams in the league. As bad as the Rangers are, Carolina could outshoot them here 40-20 and lose.
We’ve been ragging on the Rags all season with just cause but now that the dust has settled with several players getting moved, the Rangers can just get back to playing hockey with a more optimistic future. The Rangers defense is still a wasteland but the young guys back there are enthusiastic and they’re getting better. Throw in three very capable lines of Chris Kreider/Mika Zibanejad/Pavel Buchnevich, Kevin Hayes/Ryan Spooner/Jesper Fast/ and Vladislav Namestnikov/Jimmy Vesey and Mats Zuccarello and it doesn’t look so bad at all. Even the Rangers fourth line of Paul Carey, David Desharnais and Cody McLeod is creating and doing a good job of possessing the puck. The Rangers have dropped three in a row but they played the Bolts, Jets and Panthers over that span and they have mustered 34, 31, 31 and 37 shots on net over their last four games respectively. Since the trade deadline, albeit a small sample size, the Rangers rank 3rd in the league in xGF/60, which is another good indication of just how dangerous this offense is all of a sudden. Additionally, there are several Rangers who will be arbitration-eligible free agents this off-season so they remain highly motivated to perform well. Throw 25 to 35 shots on net against Cam Ward or Scott Darling and five goals is a distinct possibility. A monkey dressed in silk is still a monkey and the Hurricanes with either one of these stiffs in net cannot be road chalk in this range.
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N.Y. RANGERS +131 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.62)