NHL predictions, odds, picks: Rangers-Jets, Islanders-Hurricanes

New York Post
NHL predictions, odds, picks: Rangers-Jets, Islanders-Hurricanes

In a lot of ways, Sunday’s matinee between the Islanders and Rangers was an excellent metaphor for where these teams are right now.

The Islanders got an undeserved lead, handed it over without much fuss and never fought back, while the Blueshirts kept them on the mat.

It’s why the former is a coin flip to make the playoffs, while the other is an odds-on favorite to win the Metropolitan Division

Both teams are back in action Tuesday night. 

The Rangers host the Jets at Madison Square Garden at 7 p.m. ET.

The Islanders welcome the Hurricanes to UBS Arena at 7:30 p.m. ET.

(7 p.m. ET, MSG)

The Rangers have been rolling for most of the season, but things are going in the right direction of late.

The Blueshirts are 16-3-1 with a +30 goal difference over their last 21 games and they come into Tuesday with a four-point lead over the Hurricanes in the Metropolitan Division.

There’s nothing too complicated about how the Rangers want to play. The Blueshirts aren’t a dominant five-on-five team, but they’re an opportunistic bunch that does a fantastic job of jumping on mistakes and turning them into scoring chances going the other way. That formula works just fine for the Rangers, who also have an elite goaltending tandem and power play. 

The Jets, who are in the thick of the race for the Central Division crown and come into this game with 13 wins in their past 18 games, go about their business very differently. 

Rather than try to push the pace or trade chances with their opponents, Winnipeg tries to keep things predictable at five-on-five and avoid making mistakes. Winnipeg has allowed the fewest goals against five-on-five this season and only Vancouver has a better goal difference at even strength. 

This will be a matchup between one team that wants to push the pace and create chaos and another that wants to keep things locked down. The contrasting styles, in addition to an elite goaltending matchup, should make for a very tight contest and that puts some value on betting this one to go to overtime. 

Recommendation: 60-minute draw (+330, FanDuel)

Not even a week ago, it looked like the Islanders were well on their way to grabbing ahold of one of the last playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The Islanders had won six in a row and the numbers suggested that their success was sustainable. It looked like a legitimate turnaround. 

The Islanders didn’t get anything going offensively in humbling losses to the Kings and Sabres. They didn’t respond in an overtime loss at home to the Senators. And then they put forth another dismal effort in a 5-2 drubbing against the Rangers.

All that goodwill the Islanders built up over the six-game heater evaporated.

And things are likely to get worse before they get better as the Islanders are home underdogs against the Carolina Hurricanes. 

The Hurricanes check into UBS Arena off of a 7-2 victory over the Senators on Sunday to give them six wins in their past seven contests. But this isn’t just some hot stretch over a couple of weeks for the Hurricanes. They’ve been rolling for nearly four months.

Carolina is 25-7-2 with a +47 goal difference since Christmas. Only Edmonton and Florida have a better points percentage than the Hurricanes in that span. 

A week ago, you’d say that the Islanders’ improvements at five-on-five would give them a decent chance to provide some value as an underdog in this matchup. Not so much anymore. 

This should be one-way traffic for the Hurricanes, which puts some value on the puck line. 

Recommendation: Hurricanes -1.5 (+150, BetMGM