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The Carolina Hurricanes are on an 11-game winning streak.
The New York Rangers are 2-2-1 in their last five games.
The Hurricanes were 3-2-0 against the Rangers last season.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
New York Rangers
25-6-6 (1st in Metropolitan Division)
20-12-6 (4th in Metropolitan Division)
Martin Necas (36)
Artemi Panarin (43)
Andrei Svechnikov (19)
Mika Zibanejad (18)
Brent Burns (23)
Artemi Panarin (33)
Brady Skjei (13)
Ryan Lindgren (14)
Martin Necas (3.51)
Shots (Per Game)
Mika Zibanejad (3.82)
The Carolina Hurricanes will travel north to face the New York Rangers for the first time this season. The Hurricanes are on an 11-game winning streak and have not lost a game in regulation since November 23. Their 56 points are the second-most in the NHL (behind the Boston Bruins). Carolina will stay in first place in the Metropolitan Division if they lose but could inch closer to first place in the Eastern Conference with a win. On the other side, the Rangers are in the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference with 46 points. A win could push them into third place, but a loss might drop them into the second Wild Card spot.
The Hurricanes have a solid offense, great defense, and excellent goaltending. They are firing on all cylinders and doing everything right over the past month. Their execution has made them the second-best team in the league.
The Hurricanes have a few bonafide stars in Martin Necas, Andrei Svechnikov, and Sebastian Aho. These three are not topping any list, but they can all hold their own and battle with the best of them. They each have at least 12 goals and 30 points.
The Hurricanes may have the best goaltending duo in the league in Antti Raanta and Pyotr Kochektov. Raanta’s numbers are not excellent, but Kochetkov allows less than two goals a game and has a .928 save percentage.
The Rangers’ offense is actually slightly more productive than the Hurricanes’. However, defensively, they are a little worse, and their goaltending is not even close. The Rangers’ have a solid roster, but they do not compare to this Carolina squad.
The Rangers are full of weapons and have some dangerous players in Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Adam Fox. All three players play over 20 minutes a game and have at least 37 points and 23 assists.
Igor Shesterkin has a tight grasp of the Rangers’ #1 goaltending spot. Shesterkin is playing well, but he is not a top-five netminder. However, with a little improvement, he could be an all-star.
The Hurricanes’ are playing outstanding hockey, so I have to pick them to win this game and continue their winning streak. Carolina may be the toughest team to beat right now, so I would not bet against them.
The Hurricanes are the obvious favorites and will win this game with strong goaltending and team defense.
The Hurricanes’ have a good offense but are facing a Rangers’ squad with an even better offense. The Rangers average 3.18 goals per game and are coming off a five-goal game against the Florida Panthers. New York also averages over 32 shots a game. The Hurricanes’ goaltender will likely need to step up and be a brick wall in net.
I just spoke about the Hurricanes’ need for strong goaltending, but they also need to play strong defense. The Rangers have plenty of offensive weapons, so the Hurricanes’ defensemen will have their hands full all night. With that being said, Carolina must see defensive contributions from every player on the ice.
The Rangers are the underdogs but can win if they draw penalties and pass to Mika Zibanejad.
The Rangers have a mediocre power play unit and convert a little over 22% of their opportunities. This unit must step up today and take advantage of their opportunities. New York can give themselves a fighting chance by scoring with a man advantage.
Mika Zibanejad is the Ranger’s leading scorer and an efficient one at that. The center has 18 goals and converts nearly one in eight shots. He is also coming off a two-goal game. Zibanejad’s teammates must pass him the puck and set him up with scoring opportunities.
Derek Stepan is not the obvious choice, but I will explain why I chose him. Stepan plays less than ten minutes a game and only has six points (four goals, two assists). However, he had what likely is the best game of his season on Sunday. The center once again played less than ten minutes but finished with two goals on four shots. Derek Stepan was feeling himself and must bring that same energy to this game. If he does, the Hurricanes will be in an excellent position.
I cannot guarantee that Igor Shesterkin will get the start, but I am 95% sure he will. Shesterkin did not play in the Rangers’ previous game, so it appears he will get the nod tonight. If he does, he needs to bring his A-game against this Hurricanes’ offense. They are not the best, but they can cause problems, which is why Shesterkin must be a dominant force in net.
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What: Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Rangers
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
When: Tuesday, January 3, 7:00 PM EST
How to Watch: NHLPP, ESPN+
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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