The NHL playoffs have reached the conference semifinals, which is a great time for NHL betting.
Instead of looking at just NHL betting lines, prop bets provide a nice alternative and there are dozens to choose from for each game.
Here are two to consider for Friday.
New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes – Rangers First Team to Three Goals (+210)
After getting thoroughly outplayed in the first round of the playoffs, the Rangers appeared to right the ship in Game 1 against the Hurricanes. New York ended the contest with a 51.3% expected goals-for rating, which was just the second time in eight games that the Rangers outplayed their opponent at five-on-five.
Still, it wasn’t enough to secure the win, as New York managed just one goal despite a flurry of opportunities. I am expecting them to have some puck luck in Game 2.
New York attempted 12 high-danger and 25 scoring chances at five-on-five, above their postseason averages of 8.3 and 24.4. Though that didn’t lead to increased scoring on Wednesday night, the Rangers have shown that they are better than the 3.6% shooting percentage they established in the series opener.
I am also anticipating a letdown from Hurricanes netminder Antti Raanta. His 96.4% save percentage in Game 1 elevated his postseason average to 92.7%, above his season average of 91.2%. Raanta could see his rating slide over the coming games.
With that in mind, I am taking a stance on the Rangers as the first team to reach three goals in Game 2, backing them as +210 underdogs.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Calgary Flames – Time of First Goal 9:00-60:00 (+100)
Abomination is the only way to describe the goaltending in the Western Conference semifinal between the Oilers and Flames. These teams combined for 15 goals without substantive increases to their metrics, suggesting there will be a much tidier defensive effort in Game 2.
The Flames held the Oilers in check, allowing just six high-danger chances at five-on-five. Scoring opportunities were even harder to come by, with Edmonton attempting just 13 chances at five-on-five and 19 across all strengths. Calgary was moderately more successful but still wasn’t setting the world on fire with its 13 high-danger opportunities.
Similar performances will yield a much different result in Friday’s contest.
Mike Smith and Jacob Markstrom aren’t as bad as they appeared in the series opener. Consequently, both offenses substantially overachieved, eclipsing their expected goals-for totals by a significant margin.
Goals will be at a premium in what’s expected to be a staunch defensive battle. As such, I am anticipating that both teams will be held off the board through the first 8:59 of action, betting that the first goal comes after the nine-minute mark.