Rangers vs. Penguins NHL Preview

Filip Chytil #72 of the New York Rangers celebrates. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/AFP
Filip Chytil #72 of the New York Rangers celebrates. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/AFP

 

The New York Rangers will skate into the Steel City to meet their divisional rivals when they take on the Penguins on Friday night. Let’s handicap this matchup and keep making money in our NHL picks!

 

New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

 at PPG Paints Arena

The Rangers had just split the first two games of the series with their crosstown rivals, the New York Islanders, when they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Devils on Tuesday night. The Blueshirts notched two second-period power-play goals by Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad to cut the New Jersey lead to 3-2 before the Devils responded late in that period to go ahead 4-2.

New York head coach, David Quinn, pulled starting goalie, Alexandar Georgiev, after he surrendered four goals on 20 shots through two periods. Backup Igor Shesterkin held the Devils scoreless in the final frame and ended with eight saves while Filip Chytil, with assists from Pavel Buchnevich and Phillip Di Giuseppe, lit the lamp early in the third to cut the lead again to make it a one-goal game. However, that would be the last tally of the contest which brings the Rangers’ early-season mark to 1-2 as they prepare for the Penguins.

“We didn’t have the start we wanted,” New York defenseman Jacob Trouba said. “We got to a game we like more. … There’s some things we want to adjust, but some things to be happy with, not to be super discouraged about. I think getting off to a faster start is something we want to do.”

Penguins Working Overtime

Pittsburgh struggled out of the gate by losing their first two games to the high-flying Philadelphia Flyers. But then they returned home from their mini-road trip in the City of Brotherly Love and got to work with consecutive victories over the Capitals.

But those wins didn’t come easy as Pittsburgh needed a shootout to claim the first 4-3 victory and then secured a 5-4 win in overtime to holster their second W of the young season. In the latter, it was none other than Sidney Crosby who scooped up a Kris Letang rebound and found an opening to seal the deal in the extra frame for the Rangers.

It should be noted that Tristan Jarry was behind the pipes for both losses and currently sports a 7.57 goals-against average and a dismal 72.7 save percentage. However, his platoon-mate, Casey DeSmith, was tending the twine in both wins and owns a 2.76 GAA with an 87.1 save percentage.

“Wins like this, I think they build, they help build the chemistry that is necessary to have success in this league as a team,” Pittsburgh head coach Mike Sullivan said. “This might be one we look back on and say, ‘What a wild game that was, we didn’t play well but we found a way.’”

Wanna Make a Bet?

As we glance at the NHL odds over at some of the best online sportsbooks, we can see that the Pens are fairly substantial favorites at north of -160 at the time of this writing. I’m not sure why the line is that steep considering that the Pens could very easily be 0-4 at this juncture and their goaltending has been less than stellar.

It should also be noted that New York has won the last two games against Pittsburgh, both in overtime, and are certainly the more well-rested of the two, skating into PPG paints Arena on Friday night. Let’s also not forget that the Rangers threw everything but the kitchen sink at Devils’ netminder, Mackenzie Blackwood, unleashing 50 shots versus 28 by New Jersey, yet still fell 4-3. Those games will happen over the course of a season but eventually things even out over the long haul.

Certainly, the Penguins have the star power in the form of Sid the Kid, Evgeni Malkin, et al, but I believe the value we are getting on New York over at BetMGM is too good to pass up. Let the squares lay the lumber while we take advantage of what appears to be a swollen line in this spot.

NHL Pick: Rangers +135 at BetMGM

Leave a reply:

Your email address will not be published.