NHL Betting Guide: Wednesday 5/18/22
Puck dropped on the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday night, with one favorite, one underdog, and both unders cashing. The action continues on Wednesday with the other two series getting underway. As usual, we're prepping bettors with our daily NHL Betting Guide:
These are the wagers we're looking at from our daily projections!
Under 6.0 (-120): 4-Star Rating Out of 5
The Metropolitan Division-winning Carolina Hurricanes host the New York Rangers on Wednesday night as the teams get their Eastern Conference Semifinal series started. The Canes employ one of the best defensive systems in the NHL, which could facilitate the Rangers' impending regression.
The Hurricanes ended the regular season by allowing the third-fewest shots and scoring opportunities at five-on-five. They followed that up with an impressive opening-round win over the Boston Bruins in which they limited the B's to seven or fewer high-danger chances and 21 or fewer scoring chances in five of seven games, with averages of 6.4 and 19.3 opportunities per game, respectively.
You can look at the Rangers' 14 goals over the final three games of their first-round win over the Pittsburgh Penguins and surmise that their offense is operating efficiently; however, New York is on an unavoidable path with regression.
New York's inflated output is a reflection of getting to shoot against an injured Tristan Jarry and third-string Louis Domingue. Their production metrics are lacking, with the team limited to seven or fewer quality chances in three of their past four outings.
The Rangers will face a stiffer test against the Canes and can't be expected to sustain their current output. We're expecting that regression to start in Game 1, where goals should be at a premium. According to our projections, the under is rated as a four-star play.
Under 6.5 (-115): 2-Star Rating Out of 5
Low-scoring games are the theme of the opening games of the second round, with the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers total also coming in as one of the highest-rated plays. Defense will be a priority for both teams, as they look to shutdown their top scorers.
The Flames are tasked with keeping Connor McDavid at bay, which is a daunting task. McDavid recorded points on 14 of the Oilers' 27 goals while being on the ice for 20 of those 27. Still, Calgary has been effective at limiting opponents all season, posting the fourth-best expected goals-against rating during the regular season. They maintained that form through the opening round, holding the Dallas Stars to two or fewer goals in five of the seven games.
Edmonton has a similar assignment, keeping the Flames' top line of John Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, and Matthew Tkachuk in check. We saw improved defensive efforts from the Oilers over their last few games, holding the Los Angeles Kings to 19 total high-danger chances and two combined goals in Games 6 and 7 of the first round. Defensive structure remains a priority under head coach Jay Woodcroft, and they can lean into it against Calgary.
The Battle of Alberta rages on in what should be a low-scoring affair. Both teams have the defensive presence to limit their opponents, which should make goals hard to come by. We rate the under 6.5 as a two-star play, per our projections.