NHL FREE PICKS

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NHL Picks: May 18

By Michael Harty

Day 2 of the 2nd round kicks off with the Carolina Hurricanes playing host to the New York Rangers. Meanwhile out west, Canadian fans are being treated to one of the country’s best rivalries with the battle of Alberta. It would have been a tough pill to swallow if both of the NHL’s brightest stars were bested in Game 7, but Connor McDavid’s otherworldly performance made sure that at least one of the Hart Trophy’s contenders remained in the mix. McDavid, who played 27 minutes had a goal and an assist in a 2-0 win. He was far and away the best player on the ice, as he typically is, registering 6 shots on goal and generating an XGoal score of 0.88.

The Hurricanes beat the Bruins in a Saturday afternoon Game 7, home-ice advantage was on full display in this series as the home team won every game. Trade deadline acquisition Max Domi was the surprise hero, becoming the first Hurricanes’ player to register 3 points in a Game 7. Goaltender Anti Raanta will be the likely Game 1 starter as Frederick Andersen’s timetable to return is still unclear. Raanta will be 1 of 6 players playing for the Hurricanes who previously suited up for the Rangers, none more controversial than Tony DeAngelo. Carolina’s gamble on the highly skilled defenceman has paid dividends on the ice, as he’s been a perfect replacement on that top power-play unit for Dougie Hamilton.

The New York Rangers rallied in Games 5 and 6 from down 2-0 to somehow force the pivotal Game 7 at Madison Square Garden. In this winner take all game they once again were severely outplayed but managed to put more pucks in the net than the Pittsburgh Penguins, thus here we are today. Timely saves and special teams, a recipe that Gerard Gallant’s squad has used all year, were on full display as they were able to overcome the Penguins barrage. Hart Trophy Finalist  and soon to be first time Vezina Trophy winner; Igor Shesterkin was once again a difference maker, as they needed every one of his 39 saves. The Penguins led the XGoal battle 4.86 to 1.71 which just begins to scratch the surface of how poorly this Rangers team was out classed.

Rod Brind’Amour’s squad plays a similar style to the Penguins, only better. They own the league’s best penalty kill which will take away the Rangers best weapon. Even given the Rangers clear edge in goal, I can’t see them generating enough scoring opportunities for this mismatch to become an issue. As someone who’s been burned by the heroics of Shesterkin all year, I’m ready to get even in a big way this round. This is simply the worst possible matchup the Rangers could have drawn in my opinion.

RECOMMENDED WAGER: CAROLINA HURRICANES MONEYLINE (-155) at BetRegal

SERIES BET:

CAROLINA HURRICANES -1.5 Games (+105) BetMGM

  • In order for me to get even with Igor and the Rangers, I will be betting on the Hurricanes to win the series, as well as taking the -1,5 games. If we get the same Rangers Round 1 performance, this series could be over in a hurry. 

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