NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Rangers vs. Islanders (April 21)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: New York Rangers standout Alexis Lafreniere.
- The New York Rangers head to Long Island for Thursday's NHL contest with the New York Islanders.
- The Rangers are -130 ML favorites, but haven't gotten the best of their rivals for the most part this season.
- NHL betting analyst Jonny Lazarus breaks down the game below and delivers his top pick.
Rangers vs. Islanders Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
The New York Rangers are on an incredible run, having shut out opponents in three consecutive games. That said, their opponents haven’t been the strongest, but that shouldn’t take any credit away from how impressive they’ve been. New York outscored opponents, 11-0, in those contests.
The New York Islanders have officially been eliminated from playoff contention, but would love to prevent their biggest rival from taking over first place in the Metropolitan Division.
New York Rangers
The Rangers are coming off of their 50th win of the season and a huge reason as to why they’ve reached this milestone is because of their goaltender. Out of the 50 total wins, Igor Shesterkin has started in 36 of them and 36-11-4 on the year and has arguably been the league’s best goalie. He is 4-0-1 in his last five starts, including two shutouts, a 0.8 GAA, and a .969 save percentage.
Other teams in the league are starting to fear the Rangers since they’re looking like a legitimate contender. That said, for some odd reason, the Islanders have been their kryptonite over the past couple of seasons. As good as Shesterkin has been, his career record against the Islanders is 1-6-1 with a 3.03 GAA and a .889 save percentage. Some people might be concerned by that statistic, but not with how he is playing right now.
The Rangers are tied for the best team goals against average, only allowing 2.44 goals against per outing, but they can also put the puck in the net themselves. They have scored 18 goals in their last five games and the power play continues to be successful. This is such an important game for them, with a win giving them sole possession of first place in the division.
New York Islanders
The Islanders don’t have much left to play for, but even if that’s the case they always get excited facing the Rangers. This has been a frustrating, disappointing season for them after reaching the conference finals the previous two seasons.
The biggest area where the Islanders have struggled is on offense. They’re currently the 25th-ranked offense, only averaging 2.74 goals per game, and no one on the roster has reached 60 points this season.
There might not be anything to play for technically, but the Islanders would love to keep the bragging rights on their side as they can win the season series against the Rangers with a win. This season, they are 2-1-0 against the Rangers and have outscored them by a 6-5 margin.
Semyon Varlamov hasn’t had his best year, but will be the starter against the Rangers. He did shut them out in the last meeting between the teams, stopping a total of 27 shots.
Rangers vs. Islanders Pick
To this point, this will be the Rangers’ most important game as they look to jump ahead of the Carolina Hurricanes in the division standings. The Rangers control their own fate, but the Islanders can be the spoiler.
The Rangers are 1-0 at UBS Arena and it will be filled with a ton of their fans, so the home-ice advantage is not a factor in this game. There is something to be said about what the Rangers have done in the past three games, since shutting out teams in three consecutive tilts doesn’t happen often.
With the way the Islanders have struggled, it isn’t crazy to think that the Rangers can do it again. I think the value on the Rangers in their most important game is way too low and believe they go into Long Island and take first place.
Pick: New York Rangers ML (-130)