Odds taken from Caesars Sportsbook
|New York Rangers||+1.5 (-180)
|O 5.5 (-120)
|Carolina Hurricanes||-1.5 (+155)
|U 5.5 (+100)
In this game, two of the league’s best face each other in Raleigh, North Carolina. These teams are within two points of each other in their division, so the stakes are pretty high.
The New York Rangers are really hot right now. They have only lost three games since the NHL returned and have had no trouble scoring. They have a top goalie in Igor Shesterkin, a top defenseman in Adam Fox, and a great scoring winger in Chris Kreider. They are a very well-balanced team.
The Carolina Hurricanes have been on a tear the last two games. They have scored 11 combined goals and only given up two. Hurricanes goaltender Frederik Andersen is a top-3 netminder and only allows 1.99 goals per game. Offensively, Carolina is led by Sebastian Aho, and defensively, they are led by Tony DeAngelo. The Hurricanes are very impressive and the better team of these two.
Carolina beats New York 3-2.
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|New York Rangers||Head-to-Head||Carolina Hurricanes|
|Gerald Gallant||Head Coach||Rod Brind’Amour|
|26-10-4 (1st in Metropolitan Division)||Standing||26-8-2 (2nd in Metropolitan Division)|
|Adam Fox (42)||Points||Sebastian Aho (39)|
|Chris Kreider (25)||Goals||Sebastian Aho (16)|
|Adam Fox (35)||Assists||Sebastian Aho (23)|
|Ryan Lindgren (20)||+/-||Teuvo Teravainen (15)|
|Chris Kreider (3.13)||Shots (Per Game)||Andrei Svechnikov (3.3)|
The Rangers are a little worse than the Hurricanes but dominant right now. I would not be surprised if they win this game and push their winning streak to four; however, if they want to do that, they will need to draw penalties and slow down Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho.
The Rangers have a top-ten power-play unit. They score on 22.8% of their power-plays. Goals will be hard to come by against this Hurricanes team, so they need all the advantages they can get. I am not always the biggest fan of players exaggerating to get penalties called, but that may be necessary in this game.
Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho is underrated. He can score and pass, but, most importantly, he just has a positive impact on his team. This is most evidenced by his +/- of 14. 14 is an unusually high +/- for a center. Aho commands so much attention on the ice, which helps his team score. The Rangers defensemen have to pay a lot of attention to him but also give the proper amount of energy to all the other wingers and centers. It is a fine line, but the defenseman must figure out where it is.
When you think of a championship contender, the Carolina Hurricanes are one of the few teams that come to mind. They just know how to win. With that being said, this will be one of their tougher matchups. The Hurricanes need to limit the number of Rangers’ shots and shoot as much as possible.
The Rangers do not take a ton of shots. In fact, they take less than 30 shots per game. However, even though they do not take many shots, they average almost three goals a game. The Rangers know which shots to take and when to take them. That is why the Hurricanes have to identify which shots they will take and try to stop or block them. If they are very aggressive with blocking shots and playing strong defense, they will stifle the Rangers’ scoring.
Like the Hurricanes, the Rangers also have a great goalie. Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin is a top-five goalie with his .938 save percentage, the best in the NHL. Sometimes, the only way to score on goalies of this caliber is to keep on shooting. That means crashing the net for second-chance shots and taking wrist shots from around the faceoff circle. If the Hurricanes take enough shots, Shesterkin will eventually make a mistake and let one slip in.
The Rangers have a lot of key players, but center Mika Zibanejad may be the most impactful. Zibanejad has 14 goals, 23 assists, and a +/- of eight. He is also quite effective on the power play with his seven goals and seven assists.
Zibanejad commands a lot of attention on the ice. He is a big body that can put the puck in the back of the net. The Hurricanes defenseman needs to focus on Zibanejad a lot, especially if they are on a penalty kill.
Center Sebastian Aho is a leader on this Hurricanes team. He is an alternate captain and leads his team in points (39), goals (16), and assists (23). He also has a +/- of 14.
Aho simply makes his team better. The 24-year-old is the Hurricanes’ x-factor and needs to be treated as such. The Rangers defenseman cannot let Aho slip past them for easy shots. They have to make his life difficult, so they can limit the Hurricanes’ scoring.
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|New York Rangers vs Carolina Hurricanes Information|
|What||New York Rangers vs Carolina Hurricanes|
|Where||PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina|
|When||Friday, January 21, 7:00 PM EST|
|How to Watch||ESPN+|
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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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