NHL picks: Back the Hurricanes to complete sweep of Rangers
The New York Rangers are on the verge of elimination and could be the first team sent packing from the playoff bubble in Toronto.
Down 2-0 in their best-of-five qualifying round series against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Rangers need a win in Game 3 to stave off elimination, in what will be the fifth of six games in an action-packed NHL schedule Tuesday.
Here are the best bets for Tuesday’s NHL games.
Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Rangers
Wed, August 5 2020, 12:00 AM
New York Rangers
The Hurricanes have looked in complete control against the Rangers. They won Game 1 by a score of 3-2 and Game 2 on Monday by a 4-1 margin.
The one-goal result in the series opener was deceptive. The Rangers were badly outplayed. The Hurricanes outshot New York, 37-26, and held a decisive advantage in the offensive zone.
The Hurricanes entered this postseason as a qualifying-round team that could do some damage, and so far, they’ve inflicted punishment on a Rangers squad that saw its frustration boil over Monday.
The Hurricanes defense has held the Rangers to just 50 shots on goal over two games. That has made life relatively easy for goaltender Petr Mrazek.
At the other end, Henrik Lundqvist hasn’t been able to steal a game in net for the Rangers and has been peppered with shots. Carolina had the third highest average of shots on goal per game in the regular season and allowed the second fewest per game.
Pick: Carolina Hurricanes (-150)
Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks
Wed, August 5 2020, 2:45 AM
The Minnesota Wild did a masterful job to shut down the Vancouver Canucks in Game 1.
You know it’s been a difficult night when the Canucks’ shots-on-goal leader was defenseman Chris Tanev, with got four shots on Wild goalie Alex Stalock.
That is not going to get the job done for the Canucks. Perhaps there was good news, however, when three of four teams that fell behind 1-0 in their series came back to even the tally with wins Monday.
For the Canucks, it will come to their best forwards penetrating the middle of the ice in the offensive zone and getting more high-quality shots on Stalock, who had a relatively easy night for the shutout in Game 1.
At the very least, getting to the middle of the ice in the offensive zone could force Wild defenders to take more penalties, which would give Vancouver more power-play opportunities. The Canucks had the fourth-best power play during the regular season but had only one in Game 1, because Vancouver didn't press Minnesota into taking one until late in the game.
The good news is these adjustments are not impossible. Vancouver’s goalie, Jacob Markstrom, was good but made two mistakes on shots he should have saved in Game 1. He’ll need to clean up his game to give the Canucks the best possible chance, but their offense needs to kick into gear.
Expect a better effort from Vancouver.