NHL Odds, Pick, Prediction: Wild vs. Rangers (Jan. 28)
Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Igor Shesterkin.
- The Rangers are home underdogs on Friday night against the Wild.
- Henrik Lundqvist will have his jersey honored tonight at MSG.
- Carol Schram breaks down the matchup and makes her betting pick below.
Wild vs. Rangers Odds
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
New York Rangers legend Henrik Lundqvist will have his No. 30 retired at Madison Square Garden on Friday night before his old club hosts the Minnesota Wild.
The ceremony comes as part of a back-to-back set of games for the Rangers, who blew a 2-0 lead in their road loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, the Wild are clicking — riding a tidy winning streak and looking to stake their claim among the contenders in the tough Central Division.
Friday’s meeting will be the first game between the two clubs since Feb. 3, 2020.
Here’s the latest on both teams, and how to bet this matchup.
The Wild have been rolling since their loss to the St. Louis Blues at the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. Though they lost starting goaltender Cam Talbot to injury during that outdoor game at Target Field, they have since gone 6-0-1 with Kaapo Kahkonen in net.
After an 8-2 shellacking of Montreal on Monday, the Wild are sliding into the All-Star break on a three-game road trip, beginning Friday at MSG.
Talbot is expected to return to game action. So is defenseman Jonas Brodin, who has missed nine of the last 12 games due to an upper-body injury and a stint on the Covid list.
Two new Wild players entered Covid protocols on Wednesday: forward Nico Sturm and defenseman Jon Merrill.
Minnesota’s success this season has been driven by its potent offense and a solid Expected Goals share of 51.96% at 5-on-5. At third in the league in goals per game, it’s surprising that Minnesota’s Power Play is ranked 21st, with a Success Rate of just 17.7%.
But all the Wild’s usual suspects have been scoring in bunches through this latest hot stretch, and former Ranger Mats Zuccarello has been the hottest of the lot. On the night that his old teammate, Lundqvist, is being honored, Zuccarello will be riding a nine-game point streak. He has two points or more in each of his last five games.
New York Rangers
Lundqvist was the centerpiece of the Rangers organization for many years, so his ceremony should be emotional for both fans and players. It comes at a time when his successor, Igor Shesterkin, has inserted himself not just into the conversation for the Vezina Trophy, but also for the Hart.
Since returning from Covid protocols two weeks ago, Shesterkin has won all five of his games, giving up 10 goals in total, and currently sits at the top of the NHL rankings with 23.4 Goals Saved Above Expected so far this season. Backup Alexandar Georgiev took Thursday’s loss in Columbus and has lost four of his last five starts.
While the Rangers have locked down their end of the ice when Shesterkin is guarding the crease, Chris Kreider has emerged as one of the game’s top goal scorers. With nine goals in his last seven games, Kreider is now up to 30 for the year. He has taken over the top spot in the Rocket Richard Trophy race and hit a personal career high after just 44 games.
It’s no secret that the Rangers’ underlying possession numbers look subpar. But world-class goaltending and good special teams can paper over a lot of flaws — in the regular season, anyway.
Wild vs. Rangers Pick
Minnesota has had the lighter schedule so far in 2022 — 6-1-1 in eight games since Jan. 1, counting that loss at the Winter Classic.
During that same timeframe, the Rangers have gone 8-4-0 in 12 games, including seven on the road. Back at MSG, New York is nearly unbeatable, with a record of 13-3-2 so far this season and a nearly airtight defense.
That’s not a great atmosphere for the Wild, who like to overpower their opponents with their scoring prowess.
The oddsmakers have the rested road team as the favorite in this game — and lengthy pre-game ceremonies can cause sluggish starts, potentially on both sides. In this game, though, the intangible will be Shesterkin’s desire to put on a goaltending clinic on a night where Lundqvist’s legacy is front and center. The even-money odds are a bonus.
Back the home side for what should be an emotional evening on Broadway.
Pick: New York Rangers (+125) | play down to -120