Rangers, Hurricanes in NHL betting battle

By: David Schwab | Monday, February 21, 2011

Carolina has beaten the Rangers twice in three meetings this season.

The New York Rangers will try and double their slim two-point lead over the Carolina Panthers in the Eastern Conference when the two teams face off against Tuesday at the RBC Center in Raleigh. Game time is set for 4 p.m. (PT) and it will be broadcast regionally on FXSO Sports.

New York is 2-2 in its last four games but just 2-7-1 straight-up in its last 10. It is coming off a 4-2 loss to Philadelphia this past Sunday as a 110 home underdog after getting shutout 1-0 by New Jersey as a 126 road underdog last Friday night. The Rangers are 31-26-4 SU and 31-30 against the spread. They find themselves clinging to the seventh spot in the conference with a total of 66 points.

Center’s Brandon Dubinsky and Brian Doyle lead the team in goals with 19 apiece. Dubinsky has a total of 43 points on the season with his team-high 24 assists. Right winger Marion Gaborik, who has been a key contributor on offense with 17 goals and 21 assists, will be sorely missed as he is out indefinitely with a concussion. This will certainly not help a Rangers team that is ranked 22nd in the league in scoring with an average of 2.66 goals per game.

Goalie Henrik Lundqvist is expected to get the start in this game. He has seen the majority of the action between the pipes this season with 46 starts in 61 games. Lundqvist has been solid with a goals-against-average of a 2.37 and a .920 save percentage. New York is ranked sixth in the NHL in goals allowed; giving up an average of 2.46 goals a game.

Carolina is just 3-5-2 SU in its last 10 games. It followed up an encouraging 3-2 victory over Philadelphia last Friday night as a 120 home underdog with a disappointing 4-1 loss to New Jersey as a 109 home favorite on Saturday. The Hurricanes are 28-24-8 SU (38-22 ATS) with a total of 64 points. They currently lead Buffalo by four points for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Center Eric Staal is ranked ninth in the league with 27 goals and 10th in overall points with 58. Center Jeff Skinner is second in total points with 22 goals and 24 assists. The Hurricanes are ranked 10th in the NHL in scoring with an average of 2.83 goals per game.

Cam Ward has been a workhorse this season in goal with 53 starts in 60 games. He has a 2.74 GGA and a save percentage of .918. Carolina is ranked 24th in the league in goals allowed; giving up an average of three goals a game. Its 80.4 penalty kill percentage is ranked 22nd overall.

New York is 13-13 as a favorite this season and 18-17 as an underdog. The total has stayed ‘under’ in 35 of its 61 games, or 57.4 percent of the time.

Carolina is 15-5 as a favorite and 13-27 as an underdog. The total is a perfect .500 with 29 games going ‘over’ the total, 29 staying ‘under’, and two games ending in a ‘push.’

Head-to-head, these teams have met three previous times this season with the Hurricanes winning twice. The last time they played Carolina came away with a 4-1 win as a 144 home favorite with the total staying ‘under’ the 5 ½ goal line.

This time around the opening money line and total should be pretty much the same. Given the Hurricanes record as a favorite this season you have to give them the slight edge in this game. The stronger play might be the ‘under’ given that the total has stayed ‘under’ in five of the last seven meetings.

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