Here are a couple of NHL prop bets worth taking a look at for Saturday's Stanley Cup playoff game.
The market on either team making it to three goals has cratered in this series, reflecting the Hurricanes’ dominance and Igor Shesterkin’s ability to thwart Carolina’s attack. Neither team to get to three goals comes in at +250 in Game 6; still, there’s a modest advantage in backing the prop.
The Rangers have not attempted more than eight high-danger chances in their past four games, getting out-chanced in every contest. Scoring attempts have been even more disappointing, with New York failing to eclipse 18 in any of those contests. That’s had a profound impact on output, with the Rangers recording more than one goal at five-on-five just once over the four-game sample.
Carolina has been moderately more successful with their production metrics, but they’ve been met with fierce resistance from the Rangers netminder. Shesterkin has been on another level in this Eastern Conference Semifinal, stopping 94.9% of shots and allowing more than two goals just once in five games.
Even though the Canes have been the superior team, their offensive efforts have been fruitless. Shesterkin and the Rangers will be ready for action on home ice in Game 6, but that won’t shake the Hurricanes out of their defensive shell. This one has a defensive struggle written all over it, and both teams will have a hard time getting to three goals.
Only once so far in this series have we seen either team find the back of the net within the first nine minutes of the game. That has shifted the price on the time of the first goal down, but not far enough.
As noted, defense has been at the forefront of Carolina’s game plan, and I am not expecting them to abandon that now that they are skating around with the series lead. Expect a tight battle from the outset, with neither team conceding many chances.
It’s also worth shedding light on New York’s suboptimal home metrics. The Rangers have been outplayed in every home game this postseason, putting up a league-worst 38.1% expected goals-for rating at five-on-five. However, the Rangers are 5-1 at home with a 1.035 PDO at five-on-five and 1.052 across all strengths. With metrics like that, regression is inevitable, making goals even harder to come by.
The Rangers are skating around with a bloated PDO at home, with uninspired offensive metrics. Carolina has had a hard time figuring out Shesterkin, and that shouldn’t change in Game 6. The first goal should come after the nine-minute mark in this one.