Penguins vs. Rangers Odds, Predictions, Picks: Betting Value on New York

Penguins vs. Rangers Odds, Predictions, Picks: Betting Value on New York article feature image

Darcy Finley/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Igor Shesterkin.

  • The Rangers are home favorites in Game 1 against the Penguins at Madison Square Garden.
  • With the Penguins playing without their starting goaltender, is there value on the Rangers?
  • Tony Sartori breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Penguins vs. Rangers Game 1 Odds

Penguins Odds+120
Rangers Odds-145
Series MoneylineNYR -120 / PIT +100
Over/Under5.5 (-115 / -105)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

A Metropolitan Division series gets underway on Tuesday night as the two-seed New York Rangers take on the three-seed Pittsburgh Penguins. The Rangers have dominated the Penguins this year as they have won three of the four meetings.

This should be a great series as these teams excel in different areas of the game, as highlighted by the series price being listed near a pick 'em. The injury status of Penguins starting goaltender, Tristan Jarry, will be key in this matchup.

Jarry has already been ruled out for Game 1 of this series and will likely miss even more time. This is a massive blow to the Penguins, and they will be forced to ride with backup goaltender Casey DeSmith.

Tale of the Tape

Undoubtedly, Pittsburgh has the edge in this series in terms of metrics. This season, the Penguins rank higher than the Rangers in both five-on-five Expected Goals For per 60 minutes (xGF) and five-on-five Expected Goals Against per 60 minutes (xGA).

However, New York will find a big edge in goaltending as they will go with Vezina Trophy favorite Igor Shesterkin against backup goaltender Casey DeSmith.

StatPittsburgh PenguinsNew York Rangers
Goals For per 60 minutes (5-on-5)2.682.35
Goals Against per 60 (5-on-5)2.292.2
Expected Goals per 60 (5-on-5)2.662.25
Expected Goals Against per 60 (5-on-5)2.332.53
High-Danger Scoring Chances per 60 (5-on-5)12.0210.7
High-Danger Scoring Chances Allowed per 60 (5-on-5)10.311.7
Power Play %20.4%25.5%
Penalty Kill %85%82.4%
Expected Save Percentage (5-on-5)94.1%94.25%
Save Percentage (starting goalie)90.2%93.4%
Goals Saved Above Expectation (starting goalie)-2.02+37.2

Expected Goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.

Simply put, an Expected Goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.

xG numbers and advanced stats cited from Evolving Hockey, MoneyPuck and Natural Stat Trick.

Can Shesterkin Carry the Rangers at Home?

While the Rangers do have a disadvantage in this matchup in terms of the metrics, I still have them winning not only Game 1 but also the series. It will be extremely difficult to beat goaltender Igor Shesterkin four times, especially with the Rangers possessing a home-ice advantage.

Shesterkin was brilliant all season long but was virtually unbeatable on home ice. Across 30 starts at home, Shesterkin boasted an absurd 0.940 save percentage.

That number is almost unfathomable in that sample size in an era where scoring is at an all-time high in the NHL. For the season as a whole, Shesterkin possesses a 0.935 save percentage and ranks first among starting goaltenders in five-on-five Goals Saved Above Expected per 60 minutes (GSAx).

While Shesterkin has dominated the entire league, he has particularly shut down the Penguins. Over his four starts against Pittsburgh this year, Shesterkin has stopped 97 of 101 shots for a 0.960 save percentage.

While there is some cause for concern about the Rangers' lineup in five-on-five situations, I think that is greatly outweighed by having the best goaltender in the world. Not only do I think that Shesterkin will lead New York past Pittsburgh, but I think he will single-handedly lead them to at least the Eastern Conference Finals.

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Can the Penguins Survive Without Jarry?

While backup goaltender Casey DeSmith's surface-level numbers are solid as he possesses a 0.914 save percentage and 2.79 Goals Allowed Average, a deeper dive illuminates that the Penguins should be concerned without Jarry.

Among starting goaltenders, DeSmith would rank just 19th in five-on-five Goals Saved Above Expected per 60 minutes (GSAx). But aside from DeSmith, there are other concerns with this Pittsburgh team.

First of all, they appear to have peaked in December and January, as they have not been very good since then. Since February 17th, the Penguins are a mediocre 15-17.

Another big red flag for this Penguins team is their poor record against good teams. The Penguins enter the postseason with the worst record against other playoff teams, as they are just 14-25.

However, their metrics are decent, and they have lots of talented players on the roster, which is why this should be a competitive series. However, I doubt they can beat Shesterkin four times in a seven-game stretch.

Rangers vs. Penguins Pick

Madison Square Garden will be an extremely difficult place to play in the playoffs, let alone in the very first game. The New York crowd will give this team a boost in Game 1, and I have found that betting against Shesterkin at home has been a futile endeavor.

Shesterkin has won 21 of his 30 starts on home ice this season, including both of his home starts against Pittsburgh. Expect this trend to continue in Game 1.

Pick: New York Rangers ML (-125, BetMGM) | Play up to (-150)

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