Penguins Vs. Rangers Odds
|Over / Under||6|
|Time||7 pm ET|
|TV||ESPN + | Hulu|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The Rangers ran the Penguins out of the building on March 25th at Madison Square Garden before besting them 3-2 four nights later. New York will look to continue its dominance over Pittsburgh on Thursday night in what could be an excellent first-round playoff matchup.
Is it fair for this one to open as a near pick-em considering New York’s home dominance and the Rangers’ recent success in this matchup?
Penguins Looking to Bounce Back
The Penguins have suffered back-to-back losses against the league’s best squad in the Colorado Avalanche. However, considering how strong the Avs have been of late, the recent home-and-home loss may actually be a positive.
Those games were closely and well challenged, and Pittsburgh lost the overall Expected Goals battle just 6.84 to 7.04.
The Pens hold a 5-4-1 record over their last 10 games, but they have played to a 55.25% Expected Goals rate over that span. Pittsburgh also holds well above average scoring talent and a strong top goaltending option in Tristan Jarry, so the recent underperformance shouldn’t last for too long.
Pittsburgh should enter this matchup near full strength, which leaves a very capable and well balanced roster. Jason Zucker was injured after a lengthy rehab in his first game back, but things could actually be looking up as he is listed as day-to-day and made the trip with the squad.
Jarry should get the start in goal and has been solid this season while playing to a +13.9 Goals Saved Above Expected rating with a .920 Save Percentage in 55 games played.
Are the Rangers Overrated?
The Rangers have vastly improved their control of play of late, and the deadline addition of Andrew Copp has paid immediate dividends.
The Rangers have controlled play to a 56.02% Expected Goals rate over their last 10 games. However, that seems favorable for the overall play seen from this group to an extent.
New York bounced back after a poor effort in a 3-0 loss the Isles and a shootout defeat at the hands of the Flyers with a road win against the Devils. But overall, the Rangers’ play hasn’t been that dominant of late.
Should this series happen in three weeks against the Pens, I would be torn as to who would be likely to win, but in this spot tomorrow night, it’s very possible that there will be a Rangers letdown.
Igor Shesterkin has struggled more of late, but I am not banking on that continuing for long. Shesterkin has been unbelievable all season long and holds a +30.8 GSAx rating with a .933 Save Percentage in 46 games played.
Penguins Vs. Rangers Pick
Fading this Rangers team is never fun, but with the talent the Penguins hold and their strong play-driving numbers, it’s worth a shot that they tie up what has been a closely seasoned series.
Regular readers will know that I don’t believe in head-to-head matchups as a big indicator in the NHL, especially over the course of the regular season. Pittsburgh put together one of its sloppiest, most poorly challenged efforts of the season last time at MSG, but this is a good spot for the Pens to bounce back.
They have lost two straight to the team that is far and away the best in hockey (the Avalanche), but I like this spot for them to put together another strong effort. They should ear two points against a Rangers team that has continued to control play at very average rates all season.
While Shesterkin and the power play are gigantic factors in covering up for the Rangers’ lesser run of play, I am still willing to take the Pens as an underdog here, especially with Shesterkin more human recently.
Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins -110
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