Greg's NHL picks record this season: 2-0
Pick: Rangers +126
There is playoff hockey at 12 noon eastern on a Monday! That is pretty awesome, and we believe there’s good betting value on the underdog in the first game of the day on the ice. Carolina won Game 1 on Saturday and beat the Rangers for the first time this season as New York won all four matchups in the regular season. The Rangers were a +110 underdog on Saturday and the price has now drifted out 16 extra cents, and I grabbed them at +130 last night. So why the move? Well, we found out on Saturday that the expected starting goaltender for New York Igor Shesterkin for would not play and Carolina took full advantage of an aging Henrik Lundqvist jumping on him in the game’s first two minutes with a goal and adding another one in the second period before the Rangers got on the board and the Hurricanes never trailed. Lundqvist seemed to settle in as the game went along and while there’s no doubt the veteran’s best days are behind him, his presence between the pipes is nowhere near a death sentence for the Broadway Blueshirts. Whether it’s Henrik Lundqvist or Igor Shesterkin, we’re banking on some positive regression for New York and betting that the market overreacted a little too much to one Carolina win.
Pick: Stars +110
I like Dallas for a lot of the same reasons I liked Columbus last night. The Stars are one of the best defensive teams in the National Hockey League and have a great goalie in Ben Bishop. The Stars were second in the league in goals against per game this season between Bishop and viable backup Anton Khudobin, second in save percentage. Remember Dallas was a goal away from eliminating the eventual Stanley Cup Champions year, losing to St. Louis in double overtime of Game 7 in the second round. Vegas is the better offensive team, but the Golden Knights aren’t the same offensive team the Maple Leafs are, and Dallas is maybe even a little better defensively than Columbus. It’s a similar handicap on the sound defensive team at a plus price, and hopefully we get the same result.