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Wednesday NHL Playoffs Game 5 Odds, Picks, Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers Betting Preview

Wednesday NHL Playoffs Game 5 Odds, Picks, Prediction: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers Betting Preview article feature image
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Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Sidney Crosby (right).

  • The Rangers are home favorites in a win-or-go-home Game 5 against the Penguins.
  • While New York has thrived at home this season, Pittsburgh has been the clearly dominant side in this series.
  • Greg Liodice breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below

Penguins vs. Rangers Game 5 Odds

Penguins Odds +110
Rangers Odds -135
Over/Under 6 (-125 / +105)
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

When it comes to the playoffs, sometimes the better regular-season teams end up struggling the most. The New York Rangers host the Pittsburgh Penguins down 3-1, and it’s win or go home for the Blue Shirts.

Will New York keep the series alive, or do we see the experienced Penguins send the Madison Square Garden faithful home until the fall?

Pittsburgh Playing Like Serious Cup Contender

Could this be the last dance for the core that won three Stanley Cups? Many have speculated that but if it is, the Penguins aren’t taking this trip to the playoffs lightly.

Sidney Crosby has dominated like he typically does, while Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust are averaging a point per game. Evgeni Malkin has delivered in the clutch, netting both overtime winners. The Pens are still without their top-two goaltenders Tristan Jarry and Casey DeSmith, and they’ll also be without Brian Dumoulin and Rickard Rakell.

Pittsburgh has controlled most of this series. MoneyPuck’s “Deserve-O-Meter” says the Penguins deserved to win all but one game, which means they’ve dominated all series. Pittsburgh is currently the top team in the playoffs with a 64.45 xGF% (expected goals for) and has been exceptional on the power play converting on four of 12 tries.

Spicy pork and broccoli anyone? Louis Domingue made himself a fan favorite in Steel City, helping the Penguins put a stranglehold against the Rangers. The 10 year journeyman has fared decently, posting a .906 save percentage and a -2.3 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected).

Domingue was the third stringer for a reason. There’s nothing spectacular about his game, but with Jarry and DeSmith out, he has stepped up and made key saves for the Pens.

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New York Needs Shesterkin at His Elite Best

Taking a look at the Rangers roster, it makes sense why they ran rampant all over the Eastern Conference. New York is extremely talented from top to bottom, led by superstar Artemi Panarin and 50-goal scorer Chris Kreider.

Don’t mistake them for a top-heavy team, though, as it has loads of depth with defending Norris winner Adam Fox and Mika Zibanjead. All the Rangers’ top players have done their part, but it seems like they need more against Pittsburgh.

The Rangers are missing some key depth pieces in Barclay Goodrow, Ryan Lindgren and Tyler Motte, the last two of which could return in this series.

New York hasn’t fared very well in this series, posting the worst expected goals rate of the playoffs by a large margin with a 35.55 xGF%. Throughout the season, controlling play 5-on-5 was not the Rangers’ forte, as they got most of their production from their power play. The power play has done fine, converting on two out of nine chances, but New York needs more production across the board.

Igor Shesterkin’s playoff debut hasn’t been the kind of a success that many were hoping for. He was incredible in Game 1, stopping 83 (!) shots, but it wasn’t enough. Since then, the Russian was great in a Game 2 win, but Games 3 and 4 were disastrous, with a save percentage below .800 in both games.

While he’s a favorite to win the Vezina Trophy, Shesterkin is posting a very mediocre .905 save percentage and +1.2 GSAx in the playoffs.  

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Rangers vs. Penguins Pick

Madison Square Garden has always been a proven advantage for the Rangers, who went 27-10-4 there during the regular season. Pittsburgh isn’t a slouch on the road either, though, having gone 23-12-6. While New York has struggled throughout the series, it’s clear its best moments in the series have been at home.

Sportsbooks seem to agree and have installed the Rangers as favorites at around -135. It’s also possible that this game could be high-scoring since each has seen at least seven goals scored.

Unless New York shows more than it has all series, though, I can’t see it pulling this one out. Yes, the Rangers have the home-ice advantage, but they haven’t passed the eye test for me. For a team with loads of talent up front facing a third-string goaltender, I expected a lot more.

I’ll be backing the Penguins in a two-leg parlay as they coast to the second round.

Pick: Parlay — Penguins ML & Total Over 6 Goals (+278)

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