NHL Odds, Picks: Rangers vs. Devils Game 1 Preview

NHL Odds, Picks: Rangers vs. Devils Game 1 Preview article feature image

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Jack Hughes.

  • The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils take their rivalry to the playoffs on Tuesday night for Game 1 of their playoff series.
  • The Devils have had the Rangers’ number the last two seasons, which could continue in the postseason.
  • Tony Sartori breaks down Rangers vs. Devils below, and provides a moneyline pick.

Rangers vs. Devils Game 1 Odds

Rangers Odds+110
Devils Odds-130
Over/Under5.5 (-115 / -105)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The New Jersey Devils host the New York Rangers in Game 1 of this NHL Eastern Conference series on Tuesday night.

Controlling this matchup over the past two seasons, New Jersey has won four of the last six meetings. Will the Devils take care of business on home ice, or can the Rangers start another strong playoff push?

Here's a look at the odds, as well as my Rangers vs. Devils Game 1 betting pick.

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New York Rangers

Just like last season, the Rangers rode elite goaltending and special teams to a third-place finish in the Metropolitan Division. However, this team is due for major regression, which could come to fruition against the mighty Devils.

Since Christmas break at 5-on-5, the Rangers ranked 13th in goals for per 60 minutes (GF/60) and seventh in goals against per 60 minutes (GA/60). With that said, they ranked just 22nd in xGF/60 and 23rd in xGA/60 at 5-on-5 over that same stretch.

Regression is expected with those disparities, which started to occur as the regular season concluded. Over the final eight games, New York went just 3-5.

Once again, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Igor Shesterkin, carried this team all year. But, if there was any team to fade Shesterkin against, it would likely be New Jersey.

Across his past five starts against the Devils, he is just 1-3-1 with a .890 save percentage (SV%) and 3.84 goals against average (GAA).

New Jersey Devils

If Shesterkin continues to struggle, the Rangers are in a ton of trouble in this opening round. One of the best two-way clubs in the league, the Devils finished the regular season ranked third in xGF/60 and ninth in xGA/60 at 5-on-5.

Those rankings place New Jersey 19 and six spots ahead of New York in each of those respective categories. Similar to when Cale Makar emerged for the Colorado Avalanche in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, defenseman Luke Hughes departed from Michigan after falling in the Frozen Four and has reported to the Devils.

In the two games he played in the regular season, Hughes made an immediate impact with a goal and an assist. Oh, and he also has a brother named Jack who plays on the same team — a guy who is pretty decent at hockey.

Backing up this elite two-way team is goaltender Vitek Vanecek. Putting together a tremendous campaign in his first year with the club, Vanecek posted a 33-11-4 record with a .911 SV% and 2.45 GAA.

Rangers vs. Devils Pick

Vanecek's success is likely to continue against New York, a team he has fared well against over the past couple of seasons. Over his past six starts against the Rangers, he is 5-0-1 with a .915 SV% and 2.30 GAA.

As mentioned above, special teams once again carried New York's offense, as it ranked seventh in the league in power-play percentage. However, fewer penalties are called in the playoffs, which could hurt the Rangers' offensive production.

New York went all-in for this playoff push, acquiring Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko over the trade deadline. With that said, there are still question marks regarding this team's chemistry and new-look lineup, which could provide a slow start for the Rangers in this series.

Pick: Devils ML (-130 | Play to -145)

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