NHL Best Bets

The second round of these Stanley Cup Playoffs delivered an NHL best bet once again last night. The Colorado Avalanche were able to keep their season alive with a huge 5-3 win. Tonight, the Carolina Hurricanes look to stay alive as well. 

The Hurricanes have cut into their 0-3 series deficit and now have a chance to force a Game 7 on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden if they can win Game 6 at home. 


In the West, the Vancouver Canucks are hoping to protect home ice, which has been very difficult for home teams in Game 5 this postseason, while the Oilers look to win a pivotal game to have the chance to close it out at home. 

Let’s get into it.

New York at Carolina (-166, 5.5)

If you’re not a New York Rangers or Carolina Hurricanes fan, this series has probably been everything you could have asked for. If you are a fan, I hope you’re feeling okay because this thing has been quite the emotional roller coaster. 

Tonight, that ride continues as the Hurricanes have a great chance to force a Game Seven, but the start of this game will tell the story. The first periods at PNC Arena have not been very kind to the Rangers, but in a game like this, their fate will be determined by Igor Shesterkin. 

The third period in Game Five was one of the worst periods of hockey the Rangers have played all season, but whenever that happened throughout the regular season, they always responded in the following game. 

Tonight, you can expect them to try and lock in way more on the defensive end after a couple of mental lapses. This feels like it will be one of those incredibly low-scoring, back-and-forth defensive battles, but it truly feels like it’s on Shesterkin’s shoulders. 

Carolina is so strong at home that they outshot the Rangers 88-50 in Games Three and Four combined. In the five games this series, Shesterkin has a .920 save percentage and a 2.75 goals-against average. 

The question is, what adjustments will the Rangers make to their power play? That was the difference early on in this series. Since Game Two, their man-advantage has gone 0/8. The Hurricanes’ penalty kill has been excellent, and made the right moves to not be as aggressive. 

For the first time in this series, the Rangers have that “backs against the wall feeling.” so both teams will have a ton of desperation. 

I anticipate a tight and low-scoring game, with the Rangers ultimately pulling off the upset. 

NHL Best Bet(s): New York Rangers ML +140 (play to +120) | Under 5.5 -122 (play to -135) | Under 1.5 in the first period -125 (play to -135)

Edmonton at Vancouver (+124, 6.5)

The Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks series has delivered. It’s the only one in the second round that has been knotted at 2-2. Tonight is a pivotal Game Five. 

The question is, will Calvin Pickard get the nod again for the Oilers? I think he should. Pickard got his first career playoff start in Game Four, and he delivered for Edmonton. He only had to make 19 saves as Vancouver generated just 21 shots, but it’s important for the Oilers to feel comfortable and confident with the guy they have in goal.

Arturs Silovs has been strong all playoff long. He’s skating to a .907 save percentage and a 2.71 goals-against average. That said, the Oilers power play is simply too good. They have scored in every single game in the playoffs. Their power play is at 46.7% and it’s certainly a difference maker. 

The Canucks have done a strong job at limiting the Oilers at 5-on-5, but what can they do to slow down the man-advantage? There aren’t a ton of answers. 

Leon Draisaitl is quite literally putting up stupid numbers. He has eight goals and 12 assists in just 9 playoff games and is becoming the unanimous decision for the Conn Smythe despite the fact that we’re only in round two. He has 10 points in just four games in this series (three goals, seven assists) and is putting the Oilers on his back.

Home teams in Game Fives have struggled in this postseason because the pressure seems to fall on them to deliver in front of their home crowds. I can see the Oilers riding the momentum into this game on the road. 

NHL Best Bet: Edmonton Oilers to win in regulation +105 (play to -110)

May Record: 22-15 (+6.14 units)

2023-24 record: 175–166 (-22.55 units)