Carolina Hurricanes @ New York Rangers Free NHL Pick 3/13/12
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There have been just far too many inconsistencies this year for the Hurricanes to get into the playoffs. They are averaging just 2.6 goals per game this year, but games like Sunday’s 2-0 loss to the Florida Panthers are occurring far too often. Save for Eric Staal, it just doesn’t feel like there is a player on this team that can step up and take over a game on the offensive side of the ice. Worse has been the defense, which ranks dead last in the league in shots allowed at 32.3 per game. That just isn’t going to cut it no matter how good of a net minder Cam Ward is, and in the end, though he does have 24 wins, he also has a 2.80 GAA, which isn’t all his fault. The team ranks No. 25 in the league in total defense at 2.9 goals per game, and the penalty kill has been atrocious at just a 78.2 percent kill rate. This isn’t going to get it done, even in the lowly Southeast Division, and we are puzzled as to why this team didn’t make some major moves to bring in some youth at the trade deadline.
The Rangers had lost three in a row before getting back on track with a win over the New York Islanders in overtime at home on Sunday. The team is still in the driver’s seat for the top seed in the East and potentially the Presidents’ Trophy as well, but the gap is definitely a heck of a lot smaller now than it was before. New York might need to finish with 110 points to make sure that it gets the job done, as the Pittsburgh Penguins are charging hard to get to the top of the league. There are going to be four teams that finish this year with at least 45 wins in this division in all likelihood, and that is a tremendous accomplishment. What is puzzling us right now for New York is the team’s defense. Henrik Lundqvist and Martin Biron made up one of the best goaltending tandems in hockey before this recent stretch. Now all of a sudden, there are six straight games with at least three goals allowed, and the team has dropped back to No. 3 in the league in total defense at just 2.1 goals per game conceded.
Carolina Hurricanes @ New York Rangers Pick: The NHL odds just aren’t going to be worth it to back the Rangers on Tuesday night. Are they going to win this game? Probably. Are they going to win it at least two out of three times to be able to break even? We just don’t think so. Back the Canes for the upset in the Big Apple.
Free Hockey Pick: Carolina Hurricanes
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