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Rangers to beat Hurricanes 

As much as I’ve liked riding the Hurricanes at home, they still haven’t proven in these playoffs that they can win on the road. They’ve now lost all four road games in the postseason and emotions ran especially hot at the end of Game 3. I think that favors New York a little bit more.

Also favorable is Igor Shesterkin’s play on home ice this season, which has been exemplary. He proved that again by stopping 43 of 44 shots in Game 3 and continuing to look like the all-world goaltender he’s shown himself to be this season. The Rangers managed to put two goals past Antti Raanta in that game as well, which isn’t a lot, but when Shesterkin plays like he did the other day, that might be all he needs.

The Hurricanes have conceded 17 goals on the road this postseason while scoring only seven of their own. I’m not sure why they’re struggling to score so much in these road games, but it’s been a trend that I think is reasonable to listen to. You can look at all the underlying stats and a lot of them will favor Carolina, but it’s not resulting in goals on the road yet in these playoffs.

For me, there’s no reason to overthink it. The Rangers will have a battle on their hands, but they’ve done well on home ice so far this postseason and the Hurricanes haven’t proven their ability to win on the road.

Chris Kreider anytime goal scorer 

It’s been a special season for the long-time New York Rangers sniper. Kreider notched 52 goals in the regular season and already has six in these playoffs. Four of those six goals have come on home ice and 28 of his 52 from the regular-season were at Madison Square Garden as well. He has always been a big-time playoff performer and now ranks second all-time in goals by a Ranger in the postseason with 30.

Kreider has also had the Canes’ number for most of this year. He scored four goals over four games against Carolina in the regular season, but just the one so far in this series. With his team being on home ice and with him getting put in positions to make an impact, I think he’ll find the back of the net once again.

Flames to beat Oilers 

So here we are. I keep not believing in the Edmonton Oilers and they keep proving me wrong. Connor McDavid has been a monster. Leon Draisaitl is playing on one leg and still putting up major points. Mike Smith has turned back the clock and is putting together a remarkable postseason performance and I just can’t keep picking against this team. It’s not going well for me, but here I am. Doing it again.

The Calgary Flames have not gotten the saves they needed, they’ve not been able to slow Edmonton’s stars, but I keep looking at a team that has all of the pieces to be better than they’ve been over Games 1 and 2. The Oilers have also shown in previous games and series that the bottom can drop out for them at any minute.

The last time Edmonton took control of a series, winning Games 2 and 3 against the Kings by a combined score of 14-2, they lost the next game 4-0 and gave up five goals in the following game to fall behind in the series 3-1. I don’t trust the Oilers to be consistent, while I trust the Flames to bounce back in a greater way.

Additionally, a lot of the underlying numbers in the series to date have favored the Flames, including in Game 3 where the score line made it look a little more lopsided than it actually was. The big concern, however, is whether or not Chris Tanev plays. The Flames have been without their best defensive defenseman and it’s showed these last few games. And even if he is back, he probably won’t be 100 per cent.

The Flames have to find a way to slow down McDavid and company, and I think they’ve got the coach and the personnel to make the adjustments necessary to get this series back on track and head back to Calgary even.

Johnny Gaudreau to score 2+ points 

After being held off the scoresheet entirely in Game 3, it’s hard to keep Johnny Hockey down for two straight games. That was only the second game of the playoffs where he did not register at least a point. He has four multi-point games this postseason including three and two points in Games 1 and 2, respectively.

The need for the team to get this series even before heading back to Calgary should bring out the best in their top line. They didn’t have it in Game 3, but it’s rare to see them throw up two clunkers in a row. Gaudreau has played at an MVP level for most of this season and a large chunk of the playoffs. If the Flames are going to win, he’s going to have a lot to say about it.