Penguins vs. Rangers Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can New York Get it Done at Home?

Penguins vs. Rangers Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can New York Get it Done at Home? article feature image

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  • The Rangers are a short underdog at home against the Penguins in a Metropolitan Division battle as these teams jockey for playoff seeding.
  • Igor Shesterkin has been a bit shaky lately, but the Rangers defense and lack of play-driving at 5-on-5 has started to show this team's cracks.
  • However, Carol Schram is banking on the Rangers to defend home ice and avenge last month's loss against the Pens in Pittsburgh.

Penguins vs. Rangers Odds

Penguins Odds-120
Rangers Odds+100
Over/Under5.5 (-120/+100)
Time7 p.m. ET
TVNHL Network
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL odds here.

Two teams on a collision course for a first-round playoff meeting will go head-to-head at the World's Most Famous Arena on Friday when the New York Rangers host the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Rangers will be looking to erase the memory of their 7-4 collapse in New Jersey on Tuesday night, while the Penguins are coming off Wednesday's 4-3 shootout loss in Buffalo.

Here's the latest on both teams, and your best bet for the game.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Earlier this week, the Penguins picked up one of the best players available at the trade deadline when they added Rickard Rakell to their already-deep forward group.

A solid two-way winger with soft hands, Rakell has been slotted into Pittsburgh's third line with Jeff Carter and Kasperi Kapanen in his first two games. Though he's pointless so far, coach Mike Sullivan has said he's liked what he has seen and is looking forward to getting Rakell more involved.

Rakell's addition is a nice luxury for a Penguins group that already sits in the top-10 in the NHL in expected goals per 60 at 5-on-5. He also helps a Pittsburgh power play that always seems threatening — and went 2-for-2 against the Sabres on Wednesday — but is actually right around the league average, with a 21.1% success rate.

The Penguins are strongest on the defensive side of the puck — sixth-best in expected goals against per 60 and second-best on the penalty kill. Goaltender Tristan Jarry has returned to top form recently, with 16.9 goals saved above expected and riding a personal five-game winning streak, where he has given up a total of just eight goals.

Forwards Jason Zucker and Brock McGinn, as well as new defensive acquisition Nathan Beaulieu are currently injured.

New York Rangers

How worried should the Rangers be about Igor Shesterkin?

Just a few weeks ago, the stellar shot-stopper was being mentioned as a candidate for the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP. But Shesterkin now has an uncharacteristic 2-3-0 record in his last five games. He got the hook in two of those games, too — the only times this season that Shesterkin has been pulled.

His record for the year is still an impressive 30-9-3 and his save percentage an excellent .936, but Carolina's Frederik Andersen has now passed him to take over top spot in goals saved above expected.

Is it a hiccup? Or has Shesterkin hit a wall? Now at 42 games played, the 26-year-old has never played this much hockey before. His previous high was 39 games with SKA St. Petersburg in the 2016-17 KHL season.

The Rangers' defensive collapse in New Jersey on Tuesday overshadowed what had looked like a very successful trade deadline, where they added Andrew Copp and Tyler Motte for forward depth and picked up veteran defender Justin Braun to supplement the blue line.

Just three points behind the Penguins in the Metropolitan Division standings, New York's playoff position is all-but-secured, despite the NHL's fourth-worst expected goals rate and third-worst Corsi for percentage at 5-on-5.

Shesterkin's strong play has helped, and so has outstanding special teams, as the Rangers rank second on the power play and sixth on the penalty kill.

Penguins vs. Rangers Pick

As of Thursday evening, we don't have confirmation on starting goaltenders. In an important game for both sides with neither team on a back-to-back, look for Shesterkin vs. Jarry.

The two sides have met just once before this season. In Pittsburgh on February 26, Jarry won the goalie duel and Evgeni Malkin scored the winner in a 1-0 victory for the Penguins.

This is pretty close to a pick'em, and there's certainly an argument to be made that the Penguins have been playing more consistent hockey as of late, earning a deserved status as favorites.

But Shesterkin and the Rangers are also a proud group. They'll be looking to avenge their loss in Pittsburgh a month ago, and to erase the memory of what happened in Newark earlier in the week.

At plus money, there's good incentive to back the home underdogs for this one.

Pick: Rangers moneyline (+100); play down to -115

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