The Carolina Hurricanes can clinch the Metropolitan Division title with a win over the New York Rangers tonight...
...or they could make the final week of the season very interesting if they falter at MSG — very possible considering the Canes are missing like 25 (rough estimate) goalies.
The visiting side is a slight NHL betting underdog for the latest Hurricanes vs. Rangers matchup, but our free NHL picks and predictions have reasons to lean with the Big Apple on Tuesday, April 26.
Hurricanes vs Rangers odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
The line opened at Rangers -109/Hurricanes -103, but as of 12:15 p.m. ET, New York sits between -115 and -120 while Carolina is basically even money everywhere. The total opened at 5.5, with most operators still offering that number (shaded to the Over) and some books showing a flat 6, juiced to the Under.
Hurricanes vs Rangers predictions
Predictions made on 4/26/2022 at 12:15 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Hurricanes vs Rangers game info
• Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
• Date: Tuesday, April 26, 2022
• Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. ET
• TV: Bally Sports South, MSG
Hurricanes vs Rangers betting preview
Hurricanes: Frederik Andersen G (Out), Vincent Trocheck C (Day-to-Day), Jesperi Kotkaniemi C (Day-to-Day).
Rangers: Andrew Copp C (Day-to-Day), Kaapo Kakko RW (Day-to-Day), Filip Chytil C (Day-to-Day).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.
Hurricanes vs Rangers head-to-head record
Hurricanes: 2-1-0, 10 goals for.
Rangers: 2-1-0, 7 goals for.
Betting trend to know
The Hurricanes are 1-5 in their last six games as a road underdog. Find more NHL betting trends for Hurricanes vs. Rangers.
Hurricanes vs Rangers picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
Yes, it was a slight exaggeration, but the Hurricanes are dealing with goaltender injuries: All-Star Freddie Andersen has been sidelined most of the month with a leg injury, while backup Antti Raanta left Sunday's game with a lower-body ailment and will dress as the backup tonight — but likely only play in the event of another goalie injury.
That has the netminder duties for this potential division clincher fall to 22-year-old Pyotr Kochetkov, a second-round pick in 2019 who was called up Saturday. After going 13-1-1 with a 2.09 GAA and .921 SV% in the AHL, Kochetkov is 2-0 so far in the NHL, giving up two goals in an OT win over New Jersey and one goal in 27 minutes of relief in a win against the Islanders.
Kochetkov has not been fully tested yet, however, facing a total of just 27 shots (and stopping 88.9% of them), but his biggest challenge yet will come against a Rangers side that is playing its best hockey of the season.
New York is coming off a 3-1 loss at Boston, but that was just the Rangers' second loss in their last nine games. The Blueshirts have kicked it into high gear down the stretch, posting a 5-on-5 Corsi For percentage above 50 over this nine-game span (compared to sitting at the bottom of the league all season), giving up one goal or fewer in six of those games, and scoring 3+ goals seven times.
The Rangers are also dealing with their own injury issues, as forwards Andrew Copp, Filip Chytil, and Kaapo Kakko are all considered game-time decisions tonight. Copp and Chytil both left Thursday's win over the Islanders, while Kakko was injured 10 days ago.
The trio sat out Saturday's loss to the Bruins, where the offense fell flat with Dryden Hunt filling Copp's spot on the second line and Alexis Lafreniere playing alongside Barclay Goodrow and Julien Gauthier instead of Chytil and Kakko.
Considering that all three were originally expected to sit out the remainder of the regular season, the fact that they are all options to play tonight is a positive sign for their health. Having Copp (18 points in 15 games with NYR) and the others back would push Hunt back to the fourth line (where he's much better suited) and Gauthier (three points in 37 games since December 1) back to the press box, which would reestablish the Rangers' skating depth that's needed to go toe-to-toe with the Hurricanes, who have also won six of eight, sitting first in the NHL in CF% (60.47) during that span.
Outside of 5-on-5, however, New York has a distinct advantage, as its power play has converted in four straight games, while Carolina's man-advantage unit is just 27th (10.3%) in the league over the last month. On the flip side, the Rangers have given up one power-play goal in 11 April games (killing 22 of 23 shorthanded opportunities), while Carolina is middle of the pack at 83.8%, conceding in each of its last two games.
The Rangers also have a huge edge between the pipes, for as solid as Kotchetkov has been in his first taste of NHL action, he's nowhere near the level of Vezina Trophy favorite Igor Shesterkin, who has given up just four total goals — and posted a .969 SV% — over his last five games at MSG.
If Copp, Chytil, and Kakko don't play, Carolina has the edge at even-strength, but the special teams and goaltending advantage are enough for us to like the Rangers. If those missing Rangers forwards (especially Copp) do play? It only furthers our lean with the Blueshirts tonight.
Prediction: Rangers moneyline (-115 at FanDuel)
The Under is 22-15 at MSG this season, including going 4-1-1 in the last five games. The one Over came, coincidentally, against these same Hurricanes, which required an empty-net goal with five seconds left to get above the 5.5-goal threshold.
That was an uncharacteristically bad game for Shesterkin, however, who had -1.6 goals saved above expected (per Moneypuck) — a general anomaly for the NHL's league leader at +35.3 GSAE. We're expecting Igor, who has had a positive GSAE in his five other most recent outings, to return to his normally stout self.
Kochetkov still doesn't inspire a ton of confidence — especially if the Canes go shorthanded against the Rags' lethal power play — but Carolina has been clamping down at 5-on-5 in April, allowing the fifth-fewest expected goals against per 60 minutes (2.23, per Natural Stat Trick) and the second-fewest shots against/60 (24.76).
For good measure, the Rangers are 4th in SA/60 (25.72) and third in xGA/60 (2.26) during that span, so both teams have been pretty air-tight on the defensive end.
With the division crown on the line, we're expecting both teams to play at a playoff-type level in what is a postseason tune-up — we'll go with a low-scoring affair.
Prediction: Under 6 (-120 at BetMGM)
One of the biggest sparks for the Rangers' recent run has been star winger Artemi Panarin dominating whenever he's on the ice.
Over the first three months of the calendar year, just 24 of Panarin's 44 points (54.5%) came at even strength. In April, however, Panarin has logged 12 of his 16 points at even strength (75%), including points in eight of 11 games.
After being held off the scoresheet in 22+ minutes of ice time against Boston (without Copp), we're looking for the Breadman to get back on the board tonight (especially since he's only gone consecutive games without a point twice all season)... and do so in a big way.
He posted consecutive multi-point games prior to the Bruins contest and seven multi-point efforts in his last 13 overall. Facing a relatively untested goalie and trying to keep the team's division title hopes alive, we're rolling with Panarin to have another multi-point game tonight.
Pick: Artemi Panarin Over 1.5 points (+170 at Caesars)
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