There was chaos in the two NHL Game 7s last night with the defending Cup Champs and the greatest regular season team in history getting eliminated at home. I went 1-1-1 on my Game 7 picks to win 1.5 units but lost my Bruins futures and my series bet on the Avs to finish the night down 3.96 units. Tonight we have the final game of the first round with the Rangers and the Devils facing off in Game 7.
Game 7: Devils vs. Rangers (8:00)
I anticipated an incredible series in the Metropolitan Division for the Battle of the Hudson between the #2 seed New Jersey Devils and the #3 seed New York Rangers and it has been as we’ve arrived at Game 7 with one team advancing to face off against the Hurricanes in the second round and the other going home. The first two games of this series didn’t live up to the hype in Jersey, as the Rangers dominated both of those games on the road with 5-1 wins. I thought the series was pretty much over at that point heading back to MSG but after getting a 2-1 overtime win in a grind of a Game 3 in New York and a huge 3-1 win in Game 4 on the road, to tie the series and then winning in a dominant 4-0 shutout at home in Game 5, the Devils have now flipped the script and put the Rangers on the brink of elimination in Game 6. In Game 5, the Devils outshot the Rangers 43-22 and dominated New York by an expected goal rate of 5.38-2.12. To extend the series to Game 7, the Rangers dominated Game 6, bouncing back from their three straight losses with a 5-2 win at home on Saturday night. In the loss, the Devils outshot New York 36-29 but were outplayed by an expected goal rate of 4.38-3.6. Going into this series, I expected the Devils to win it with a big edge offensively over the Rangers. They played fantastic hockey on both ends of the ice. After the first two games of this series, it looked like New Jersey was dead, but they came back to tie this series with two huge wins on the road and the momentum of the series shifted in the Devils’ favor, with three straight wins to take the lead in the series but the Rangers answered back with a huge 5-2 win at home in Game 6 on Saturday night to force Game 7. I feel like tonight’s Game 7 is a complete coin flip of a game and the least predictable game of this insane round of the playoffs. I’d slightly lean the Devils get it done at home, but not enough to bet it. I had a series bet on the Devils to win this series and I’m not comfortable enough to even let it ride, so I’ll take the Rangers for a unit tonight (would have LOVED to get the +1.5, but no way you could bet that at -275) to buy out of it and limit the risk for me to 0.3 units. I have futures on both of these teams, so I will end up losing a unit tonight regardless, but I love both of those futures as I think whoever wins this game beats the Canes and advances to the Eastern Conference Finals which will have fantastic value at +1300 for the Rags or +1600 for the Devils, especially with the Bruins knocked out of the playoffs, which I think opens up the East much more. I’d lean the under in tonight’s game. This series has trended under, going 3-2-1 through the first six games of the series. Despite three of the four regular-season games between these teams hitting the over, the playoffs are usually dictated by defensive-minded games and both of these teams have been fantastic defensively, leading me to really like the under in this game. The Devils have allowed just the eighth-fewest goals in the NHL, having given up the third-fewest expected goals and the third-fewest high-danger shots in the league. Since coming into this series in Game 3, Akira Schmid’s been great in goal for the Devils. The Rangers, backstopped by last year’s Vezina winner Igor Shesterkin, have been fantastic on the back end as well. He’s been fantastic in this series. Defensively New York was fantastic in limiting the scoring opportunities for the Devils. They’ve allowed the fourth-fewest goals in the NHL, having given up the twelfth-fewest expected goals and the 16th-fewest high-danger shots in the league. Typically Game 7s are defensive grinds but with the elimination scenario at play if a team has a lead late in the third period we could see chaos with empty nets, so I’ll just stay off the total tonight.
1u Rangers ML (-110) – I don’t suggest taking this unless you have the Devils series bet
1u Devils to win series (-125)
2u Vegas Golden Knights – Stanley Cup Champions (+1200)
1.5u Carolina Hurricanes – Stanley Cup Champions (+1300)
1u New York Rangers – Stanley Cup Champions (+1300)
1u New Jersey Devils – Stanley Cup Champions (+1600)
2u Edmonton Oilers – Stanley Cup Champions (+800)
Record: 781-625-35 (-36.5 units)
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