NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick, Prediction: Penguins vs. Rangers (Wednesday, March 16)
Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Tristan Jarry
- The Penguins and Rangers meet for the second time in less than a week as they get set to face off at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.
- Pittsburgh got the best of New York in the previous meeting, but perhaps a change in venue will also change the result.
- Carol Schram previews the matchup and shares her best bet below.
Penguins vs. Rangers Odds
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
As they work to firm up their playoff positioning, the Pittsburgh Penguins will once again try to get the best of the New York Rangers on Thursday night.
It’s the second of three meetings in less than a week between these teams, though this one will be played at Madison Square Garden.
Here’s the latest on the Penguins and the Rangers, and your best bet for Thursday’s game.
Looking to extend the NHL’s longest active playoff streak to 17 seasons, the Penguins currently sit in the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. They have an 85.3% chance of making it to the dance, per MoneyPuck.
Pittsburgh is a solid 7-2-1 in its past 10 games, but the Penguins let two valuable points slip away in its last game, a 6-4 home-ice loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
Pittsburgh is in the middle of the pack in every major statistical category this season, which explains its position in the standings.
Sidney Crosby is on track for his his seventh-career 100-point season and his team’s fundamentals remain solid. The Penguins have a 53.35% expected goals share at 5-on-5 and that number has risen to 56.35% over the past 10 games, tied for sixth-best in the league.
Pittsburgh’s power play has also been strong, going 7-for-22 over the past six games. Additionally, the penalty kill has been a perfect 7-for-7 over the past three games.
Goaltending remains the biggest concern. The Penguins have allowed four or more goals in five of their past seven games, but Tristan Jarry did limit the Rangers to just two goals last Sunday.
Two nights later, Jarry was pulled after one period upon giving up four goals on seven shots against Montreal. Having started nine of Pittsburgh’s 12 games since he returned from injury Feb. 20, it’s likely Jarry will draw back in Thursday.
The Penguins tried to add depth at the trade deadline, but two of Pittsburgh’s three new acquisitions have already landed on injured reserve. Forward Nick Bonino and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov are both sidelined, while forward Mikael Granlund has two points in seven games since his arrival.
New York Rangers
The New York Rangers are locked pretty comfortably into third place in the Metropolitan Division. They’re eight points behind second-place New Jersey and eight up on Pittsburgh — so there could be a race to the finish if they don’t keep the Penguins at bay over these next two games.
New York is six games into its Patrick Kane era and he has points in four straight games games. The Rangers’ power play has been producing regularly and the only recent blemish on the penalty kill was the 2-for-4 game against the Penguins last Sunday.
While his individual numbers aren’t as lights-out as last season, Igor Shesterkin still boasts a very solid 30-11-7 record with 14.1 goals saved above expected. The Rangers were on the second half of a back-to-back when they played the Penguins last Sunday, so Jaroslav Halak was in net for the overtime loss. Expect to see Shesterkin between the pipes Thursday.
On the injury front, defenseman Ryan Lindgren looked like he was getting close to returning from his apparent shoulder injury after a seven-game absence, but did not dress for the Rangers’ 5-3 win over Washington on Tuesday. His status for Thursday remains uncertain as of Wednesday evening.
Penguins vs. Rangers Pick
Pittsburgh has prevailed in both games of this series so far this season — both times by 3-2 scores, and both times on home ice.
As the scene shifts to New York on Thursday, look for another hard-fought matchup. The Penguins need the points more than the Rangers, but there is no love lost between these sides.
The Blueshirts are the hotter of the two teams at the moment, and that’s reflected in the moneyline where New York is a -146 favorite.
If you’re looking to take a side, back the home team. For a juicier potential payout, consider the under.
Pick: Under 6.5 | Play Down to -120
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