1st-place Rangers open as 2nd-round underdog against Hurricanes

NHL: New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Rangers swept their first-round playoff series after proving to be the the best team in the NHL over 82 regular-season games. But that apparently isn’t enough for the Las Vegas oddsmakers to favor them in the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Rangers are currently +126 on FanDuel and +120 on DraftKings.

The Hurricanes, meanwhile, are -152 and -140, respectively.

Although the Rangers have home-ice advantage in the series and finished three points ahead of the Hurricanes in the NHL standings, the odds aren’t entirely surprising based off recent futures odds.

The Hurricanes have been the favorite to win the Stanley Cup in many sports books heading into the postseason, and that hasn’t changed following their five-game series win over the New York Islanders in the first round. They’re currently +185 to make the Stanley Cup Final and +390 to win the Cup, according to FanDuel.

The Rangers, meanwhile, have the third-best odds in the Eastern Conference to qualify for the Stanley Cup Final at +310, even though they won the Presidents’ Trophy and established franchise records with 55 wins and 114 points this season.

The Blueshirts are currently +700 to win it all, which puts them behind the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Edmonton Oilers and Colorado Avalanche overall, also per FanDuel.

For those prop bettors, the Rangers at +1.5 games in the series is -154, while the over/under of series length is at 5.5, with the over having -188, per FanDuel.

Related: Rangers captain, popular rookie among unsung heroes in first-round sweep

Rangers set for heavyweight clash against Hurricanes in 2nd round

NHL: New York Rangers at Carolina Hurricanes
Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Underdog or not, the Rangers are as good a team as any in these playoffs. The same can be said of the Hurricanes, who mirror the Rangers in many ways. This series has been long expected and is highly anticipated.

The teams met two years ago in the second round, a thrilling series that went the limit before the Rangers secured a 4-3 series win and advanced to the Eastern Conference Final. Interestingly, either the Rangers or Hurricanes have been in the Eastern Conference Final three of the past five postseasons, including the past two. This postseason will make it four out of six and three straight.

The Rangers have not reached the Stanley Cup Final since losing in five games to the Los Angeles Kings in 2014. They have not won the Cup in 30 years.

The Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in 2006 when current Rangers coach Peter Laviolette was their bench boss.

This past season, the Rangers won two of three games against the Hurricanes. However, they only scored four goals in the series, winning 2-1 and 1-0, and losing 6-1. The most recent game, a 1-0 Rangers win in Raleigh on March 12, was a playoff preview featuring an electric atmosphere, outstanding goaltending and fairly air-tight defense from each side.

Simply, this should be an outstanding series featuring two of the best teams in the NHL. No matter who’s the presumed favorite.

Matt Calamia spent six seasons as a digital content producer and writer for the New York Rangers. Prior to... More about Matt Calamia

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