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NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick & Prediction: Rangers vs Devils Game 5 (Thursday, April 27)

NHL Odds, Preview, Expert Pick & Prediction: Rangers vs Devils Game 5 (Thursday, April 27) article feature image

Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Artemi Panarin.

  • The Rangers and Devils are set for Game 5 on Thursday night.
  • This has been an entertaining series, and while Game 5 could go either way, our expert has found value on a player prop.
  • Ryan Dadoun is backing Artemi Panarin and explains why below with his Rangers vs. Devils Game 5 best bet.

Rangers vs. Devils Game 5 Odds

Rangers Odds+102
Devils Odds-122
Time7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The New York Rangers convincingly won the first two contests of their first-round series, but the New Jersey Devils battled back to squeak out victories in Games 3 and 4. Neither squad has won at home, but the Devils will attempt to snap that trend when they play in New Jersey on Thursday.

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New York Rangers

The Rangers has lost their edge in this series primarily because their offense dried up. Artemi Panarin, Vladimir Tarasenko and offensive defenseman Adam Fox were held off the scoresheet over the past two games and Mika Zibanejad was limited to just one assist. Meanwhile, the Rangers have gotten no offensive support from their bottom-six forwards during the past two contests. The only forwards who did okay over those two defeats were Chris Kreider (1 goal, 1 assist) and Patrick Kane (two assists).

Igor Shesterkin has done his part to keep the Rangers in every game, but he can only do so much. The goaltender hasn’t surrendered more than two goals in a single playoff start this year, so those two losses shouldn’t be put at his feet.

To be fair, Akira Schmid has done well in goal for the Devils, but the Rangers also managed just 23 shots in Game 4, so they didn’t do enough to challenge him. That’s something New York needs to work on Thursday and given the talent on the roster, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Rangers’ forwards bounced back.

Both Tarasenko and Kane know what it takes to win a Stanley Cup and have been in enough situations that losing a 2-0 series lead shouldn’t get in their heads and that should help calm the rest of the roster.

New Jersey Devils

Schmid has stabilized the Devils’ goaltending situation. He’s a 22-year-old rookie who only had 24 NHL games worth of experience when the playoffs started, so it remains to be seen if he can keep this up. However, there’s no question he’s helped after Vítek Vanecek struggled through the first two contests.

New Jersey’s forwards haven’t been able to solve Shesterkin with any regularity and that’s left the Devils with almost no margin for error. Of the 16 playoff teams, the Devils rank last offensively with 1.75 goals per game in the postseason, which is in stark contrast to regular season, in which they averaged 3.52 goals (tied for fourth).

As much as Shesterkin deserves some credit for shutting down the Devils, New Jersey also deserves some blame. The Devils have accumulated 10.55 expected goals for, per Moneypuck, which indicates that even if the Rangers had average goaltending, New Jersey still wouldn’t have filled up the net thus far.

Jack Hughes has managed three goals in four playoff games, which accounts for 42.9% of the team’s total in the series. To put that into context, Leon Draisaitl has doubled Hughes’ goal total and still accounts for just 30% of Edmonton’s tallies.

New Jersey could use more from Dawson Mercer. He was a key complimentary forward during the regular season — 27 goals and 56 points in 82 outings — but has no points and a minus-2 rating through four playoff appearances. Nico Hischier has also been limited to two assists in four postseason outings after providing 31 goals and 80 points in 81 regular-season contests.

New Jersey can’t count on the idea that Schmid will reliably beat Shesterkin in a goaltending duel, so the Devils really need Mercer, Hischier and all their forwards to step up.

Rangers vs. Devils Pick

After winning two straight games and with the series back in New Jersey, oddsmakers see the Devils as mild favorites to take Game 5. The moneyline being close to even is fair because this really is anyone’s game. Both the Rangers and Devils could stand to do more, particularly on offense. On top of that, Schmid’s lack of experience makes him something of an X-Factor.

I expect the Rangers to challenge Schmid a lot more than they did Monday and I’m looking for Panarin, who has been held off the scoresheet for three straight games and hasn’t netted a goal in the series, to be a big part of that.

Panarin told that he’s “got to score somehow” and while he might not succeed Thursday, I expect him to at least fire a fair amount of shots on net.

Pick: Artemi Panarin Over 2.5 Shots +108 (Play to -105)

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