NHL FREE PICKS

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NHL Picks: May 28

By Michael Harty

The New York Rangers look to keep their season alive in Game 6 as the Carolina Hurricanes visit Madison Square Garden for a Saturday night clash. Will the Hurricane's road woes continue ? or will it be lights out on Broadway?

Carolina, as they have all playoffs, looked like a completely different team with the Caniacs behind them in Raleigh on Thursday night dominating the Rangers from start to finish. This was the type of performance that Hurricanes backers (myself included) were waiting for. Leading the XGoal at 5on5 2.37-1.1, Rod Brind’Amour’s squad looked prepared and ready to take a stranglehold on the series. The key edge in having Home-Ice besides the raucous atmosphere is deploying the last change. Having the luxury of being able to send out Veteran shutdown Center Jordan Staal against Gerard Gallant’s top trio has proved to pay huge dividends on home ice. Both of the Rangers' top units finished the game with poor 5v5 Xgoal metrics. As they say, the best offence is a good defence, and with Staal and his linemates being able to hem Panarin and company in their own zone, the Rangers as proven have had a hard time scoring. With goals coming at a premium in this series, it normally doesn’t take much to tilt the edge in your favour. They will now have to take this show on the road Saturday night and avoid having to come back and play a Game 7.

The Rangers, who are somehow still hanging around should get a max effort from the MSG faithful on Saturday Night. However, they will only go as far as Igor Shesterkin will take them. I think the last game was a very telling sign, as Carolina finally looked like they were able to figure the Rangers out. The Trio of Trocheck-Svechnikov-Necas resulted in two goals, as well as numerous chances throughout the evening. If you go through each matchup and how each line fared against each other, Carolina showed a clear dominance in every facet. The formula for the Rangers all year has been good special teams and elite goaltending, and they will need both of these to be in full effect if they want to win.

As someone who didn’t even envision this series going this far, I will be backing Carolina again. The Rangers, who have been a thorn in my side all year are just simply outclassed in this matchup. Although Carolina doesn't boast a true “superstar” they collectively as a group have the formula to defeat the Rangers. Coach Brind’Amour has his entire group bought in and the Hurricanes are simply just more comfortable and battle-tested playing in these tightly contested games.

RECOMMENDED WAGER: CAROLINA HURRICANES (-105) at BetRivers

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