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Blues vs. Rangers Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Both Goaltenders at MSG (March 2)

Blues vs. Rangers Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Both Goaltenders at MSG (March 2) article feature image
Credit:

Claus Andersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Igor Shesterkin.

  • The Rangers host the Blues on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
  • This matchup is priced as a toss-up as each team has an elite goaltender.
  • Carol Schram breaks down the game and shares her best bet below.

Blues vs. Rangers Odds

Blues Odds -110
Rangers Odds -110
Over/Under 5.5 (-115/-105)
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV TNT
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

When the St. Louis Blues meet the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, it will be two years less a day since these two teams last squared off.

The defending Stanley Cup Champions at the time, the Blues swept that season’s series with the Rangers, winning 5-2 in St. Louis on Jan. 11 , 2020 and 3-1 in New York City on March 3.

This year, the two clubs will square off twice in a span of nine days. They’re also meeting at Enterprise Center on March 10.

Heading into Wednesday’s game, the Blues and the Rangers sit just one point apart in the NHL standings, and both have big playoff aspirations. Here’s the latest on both teams, and the best bet for the matchup.

Blues on a Hot Streak

The Blues have been an up-and-down team this season. Despite being in the midst of playing eight of nine games on the road, they are very much in an ‘up’ cycle at the moment.

The Blues are on a seven-game point streak, where they’ve gone 6-0-1. But it should be noted that, other than a solid 6-3 win over Toronto on Feb. 19, the other six games in that streak were all against non-playoff teams.

That being said, the streak has helped No. 1 goaltender Jordan Binnington regain his top form.

Over the course of the year, Ville Husso has been the Blues’ top-performing goalie, with 16.4 Goals Saved Above Expected compared to -7.1 for Binnington. But Binnington has played two of the Blues’ last three games and has been razor sharp, allowing just one goal in a tight game against the Philadelphia Flyers and then shutting out the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s projected to start again on Wednesday.

This season, the Blues have been a top team at both ends of the ice. Though their 5-on-5 possession rates rank in the bottom third of the league, their +47 Goal Differential is fifth-best. That’s due, in large part, to a Power Play that ranks second overall at 27% and a Penalty Kill that’s fourth-best with an 85% success rate.

Add it all up, and the Blues have scored four goals or more in six of seven games on their current streak while never allowing more than three — and keeping their opponents to two goals or fewer on four occasions.

The Blues’ recent success also comes with their roster almost intact, after plenty of earlier injury problems. Forward Oskar Sundqvist is currently day-to-day with a lower-body issue, and defenseman Marco Scandella has also missed the last seven games with a lower-body problem. Journeyman Jake Walman has done a fine job of filling in on the blue line.


Shesterkin Leads the Rangers

Over on Broadway, the New York Rangers saw their own six-game point streak snapped over the weekend, dropping a 1-0 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins on the road and then losing 5-2 to the Vancouver Canucks on home ice, with Alexandar Georgiev in net for his first start in a month.

It’s no secret that Igor Shesterkin’s incredible play is the foundation for the Rangers’ success this season, with his league-leading 31.1 Goals Saved Above Expected and his .941 Save Percentage. Expect to see Shesterkin get the nod for his 34th start on Wednesday.

Up front, the Blueshirts are having a tough time scoring. Perhaps Chris Kreider was bound to regress? Already at a career high of 34 goals for the season, he now has just one in his last six games.

That coincides with a dip in the Rangers’ Power Play — still ranked fourth in the league but with nothing in its last three games. The situation on the Penalty Kill is similar. It’s seventh-ranked in the league with a success rate of 82.7%, but a perfect streak of four games while shorthanded was snapped with a goal allowed in each of the last two games.

Just one key injury to note for the Rangers: Kaapo Kakko remains sidelined with an upper-body issue.

Blues vs. Rangers Pick

On paper, there isn’t much to differentiate these two teams, which follow somewhat similar blueprints. Both are successful despite less-than-dazzling 5-on-5 possession numbers and rely on superb goaltending. When they’re on their game, the Blues are the more explosive group offensively — and lately, they have been on their game.

As of Tuesday afternoon, both sides hold even odds for a win, which makes sense. The Blues are on more of a hot streak, but the Shesterkin factor is real.

With Binnington also looking sharp, expect a goaltender’s duel at MSG on Wednesday. It’s not easy to feel comfortable recommending an under of 5.5, but that looks like a very plausible outcome for this game.

Pick: Under 5.5 (-105); play down to -115

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