NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Devils vs. Rangers Game 6 (Saturday, April 29)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Devils vs. Rangers Game 6 (Saturday, April 29) article feature image

Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers.

  • The New Jersey Devils head to Madison Square Garden to face the New York Rangers in Game 6 of their first round series.
  • The Devils are up 3-2, but Nick Martin sees value in a prop on a Rangers player in a must-win game for New York.
  • He breaks down the matchup and gives his prediction in the Devis vs Rangers Game 6 preview.

Devils vs. Rangers Game 6 Odds

Devils Odds+108
Rangers Odds-130
Over/Under5.5 (+104 / -128)
Time8 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The New JerseyDevils looked dead to rights having dropped consecutive 5-1 decisions on home ice to start this series. Since that point the tides have swung entirely as they have won three straight matchups and will have the opportunity to knock the Rangers out at MSG Saturday.

The New York Rangers can point to their experience in last seasons first round to potentially instill some belief. New York faced a 3-1 deficit to the Penguins and had been drastically out played, but rallied for three consecutive victories.

Let's dive into the matchup and discuss the best value picks in the Game 6 Devils vs Rangers NHL betting preview.

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New Jersey Devils

Two games into this series it seemed that every potential concern surrounding the upstart young Devils entering the playoffs was being answered in the worst possible way.

New Jersey's rush-based offense was not clicking, and had resulted in a lot of chances going the other way from turnovers in the neutral zone. Unproven playoff starter Vitek Vanecek was unable to find his groove, and allowed -2.4 Goals saved above expected with an .827 save percentage.

The response since that point has been highly impressive.

The Devils seemed to come into Game 3 with a different mindset, and have played a much sharper brand of hockey since that point. The philosophy seems to have pivoted to being more so let's force the Rangers to beat us, rather than handing away games with unnecessary errors.

New Jersey's neutral zone play has looked drastically better than in the opening matchup. In all areas of the ice they have managed the puck far better, which is not surprising considering their sharp defensive game in the regular season.

Making safer plays and living with what is there in playoff hockey seems to be the right idea. That type of play has left with Akira Schmid with a lot of lower quality chances against, and he has been extremely stable in goal.

The other key has been shutting down the Rangers powerplay. The Rangers went off four goals in the opening two games, but has gone silent in the three games since. That will be an interesting angle to watch in this elimination game.

Schmid has put up a +5.0 GSAx rating, and .976 save percentage in three games this series. He owned a +8.2 GSAx in the regular season in 18 appearances.

New York Rangers

At even strength New York own just a 43.62% expected goals rating, which is the lowest of any team in the playoffs. Everybody knew that the Devils would own more of the overall play in this series, but the question was if the Rangers could overcome that with their potent finishing ability and elite goaltending.

Last season the Penguins lost having owned a 63.89% expected goal share versus New York. They are not in a foreign place here by any means. The difference in Game Five was that the quality of Devils chances clearly got out of hand to the point where any goalie in history would have been wearing a loss.

The Rangers may not have a ton of elite two-way forwards, but the talent is still on board to clean that concern up. Throughout much of last playoff the Rangers did not control much of the play, but what they were able to do was leave Shesterkin with the sort of chances that he could actually save.

We could see some push back from New York with a more concerted defensive effort. In much of this 2022-23 season their defensive game was actually better than the season previous when they went to the Conference Final.

Another area where the Rangers could potentially swing the series back in their favor is the powerplay.

Even the best penalty kills are susceptible to damage from an elite powerplay unit. Compared to even strength play in the NHL, it's far more likely teams can score on the powerplay without the defending side really making any mistakes.

There are more situations where defending teams just have to tip their cap, like when elite shot makers make pressured shots in the NBA. The Rangers powerplay should have the ability to do that considering the plethora of talent on hand. I wonder if that will be an area that looks much sharper in this do-or-die matchup.

Igor Shesterkin will start for New York. He has played to a +5.7 GSAx rating and .938 save percentage this postseason.

Devils vs. Rangers Pick

There are compelling arguments as to why each side could find a way to take this matchup. The prices on each side to win look sharp to me when we really break it down.

If I were to get involved with some sort of side backing the game to go to overtime at +320 would be my favorite look, or perhaps backing New York to win by one goal exactly.

By no means do the Rangers need to be excellent in front of Igor Shesterkin to have a chance in this matchup. If they can just avoid complete breakdowns that lead to breakaways, odd man rushes, and passes through the seams in the offensive zone Shesterkin will give them an honest chance.

That makes me afraid of backing the Devils here, despite the fact that they have seemingly taken over the series.

My favorite price from any bet on this game is backing Mika Zibanejad to record over 2.5 shots on goal at -130. I was high on this angle in Game Five, and he came out firing with five attempts at goal in that matchup.

He has been quiet overall in this series with no goals and just two assists throughout five games, and the noise about his lack of production is reaching a fever pitch. My expectation is that he will follow up Game Fives more aggressive performance with a lot of shots here, and I see this as a very safe bet at -130.

Pick: Mika Zibanejad Over 2.5 Shots on Goal

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