NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Red Wings vs. Rangers (February 17)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Red Wings vs. Rangers (February 17) article feature image

Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Igor Shesterkin.

  • The Rangers host the Red Wings on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.
  • Igor Shesterkin and the Rangers are home favorites, but is there better value on the underdog Red Wings?
  • NHL betting analyst Jonny Lazarus breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Red Wings vs. Rangers Odds

Red Wings Odds+170
Rangers Odds-210
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The New York Rangers are continuing to prove that they are a legitimately good team in the National Hockey League. They found a way to win a tight game on Tuesday night at home against the Boston Bruins, winning in the ninth round of the shootout.

The Detroit Red Wings are coming off of a tough loss on the road in Minnesota after they saw a 2-0 lead disappear.

Red Wings Aren't Out of it Yet

The Detroit Red Wings currently sit in fifth place in the Atlantic Division and still have a chance at making the playoffs. Detroit has taken on a new identity this season with the emergence of their two rookie studs, Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider. These two have come in and contributed offensively right away. Raymond has 13 goals and 26 assists in 50 games, and Seider has five goals and 29 assists in 50 games as well.

The Red Wings have been in the middle of the pack when it comes to offensive production this season. They currently rank 20th, averaging 2.84 goals scored per game which is right around their Expected Goals per 60 minutes (2.69). They had a strong showing against Minnesota on Monday night, winning the Expected Goals battle by a 3.62 – 3.06 count, but Alex Nedeljkovic didn't play his strongest game as he allowed six goals on 24 shots.

Detroit's defense and goaltending have not been much to write home about this season. The Red Wings are giving up 3.46 goals per game, which is the 27th-most in the league, and they are allowing 32.6 Shots On Net, which is the 25th-most. They struggle at slowing down the opposition, which makes it very challenging for their goaltenders, Nedeljkovic and Thomas Greiss.

Nedeljkovic has been the starter for most of the season, posting a 14-14-5 record with a .907 Save Percentage and a +1.0 Goals Saved Above Expected. Greiss hasn't been much better as he has a record of 7-7-1 with a .898 Save Percentage and a -3.5 GSAx. The Red Wings haven't named a starter yet, but they will be outmatched in the goaltending department against the Rangers.

Rangers Catching Fire

The New York Rangers have been a tough team to figure out all season, but the one thing that remains constant is the play of Igor Shesterkin. Shesterkin has been one of, if not the best goaltenders in the league this year and is making a very strong case for not only the Vezina, but possibly the Hart Trophy as the league's MVP. Shesterkin has a 23-5-2 record with a .938 Save Percentage and a league-best +26.6 Goals Saved Above Expected.

Goaltending has without a doubt been the Rangers' biggest strength, but another area that they have really impressed in is on the power play. The Rangers man-advantage unit currently ranks fourth, converting at a 25.7% rate.

On the other hand, the Rangers have struggled mightily at scoring at 5-on-5. They currently rank 28th with a 2.2 Expected Goals per 60 minutes at even strength, and they also rank 21st with 10.4 High-Danger Chances a game playing 5-on-5.

The Rangers can be guilty of playing a little too passive as they are only generating 28.6 Shots On Goal per game, which ranks 29th. This team has a ton of offensive weapons like Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox, but they need to find a way to score at even strength.

The offense will come, but the Rangers have a chance to win any given night when Igor Shesterkin is in the blue paint.

Red Wings vs. Rangers Pick

This game has a special teams battle written all over it. Both teams are pretty much neck-and-neck at 5-on-5 play, but the Rangers have a clear cut advantage in the special teams department. The Rangers have the fourth-best powerplay and the ninth-best penalty kill while the Red Wings have the 25th-ranked power play and 23rd-ranked penalty kill.

The Rangers have been excellent at Madison Square Garden this season, posting a record of 16-4-2 on home ice. The Red Wings have struggled mightily on the road as they are 7-13-3 away from Little Caesars Arena. With Shesterkin expected to get the start, it's hard to bet against the Rangers in this one.

Shesterkin stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced on Tuesday night against the Bruins, and he should be able to ride that momentum into this matchup. Detroit should struggle offensively Thursday, and I can see the Rangers opening this one up, especially if they take advantage of their power play strengths. The Rangers should cover the puck line.

Pick: New York Rangers -1.5 +120

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