The Metropolitan Division series looks to get started tonight with game one as the second seed New York Rangers take on the third seed Pittsburgh Penguins. These two teams have met four times in the regular season and the Rangers have won three of them. Who is going to get the win in game one to set the tone for the series? It’s time to continue our NHL odds series with a Penguins-Rangers Game One prediction and pick.
Here are the Penguins-Rangers NHL Odds,Courtesy of FanDuel
NHL Odds: Penguins-Rangers Odds
Pittsburgh Penguins: +1.5 (-250) (+112 ML)
New York Rangers: -1.5 (+202) (-134 ML)
Over: 5.5 (+102)
Under: 5.5 (-124)
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Why The Penguins Can Cover The Spread/Win
In terms of metrics, the Pittsburgh Penguins have the upper hand in this matchup. However, the Pens are going to be without starting goaltender Tristan Jarry for at least game one and will be forced to start backup netminder Casey DeSmith. Throughout the season, DeSmith has put up a .914 save percentage while allowing 2.79 goals against. He’s had some ups and downs, and hopefully for the Pens, he’s ready to start the series off with a bang.
But there are other concerns with this Penguins team besides the injury to Jarry. Firstly, the Penguins have been playing mediocre hockey since February, going 15-17 within that time. They will need a big momentum shift to get out of this slump. Secondly, the Penguins tend to pick on the lesser of teams as they are not very good against any of the other good competition. Against other playoff teams, the Pens have gone 14-25 on the year. Don’t count out the Penguins just yet, as they are a well-proven and consistent playoff team, year after year, but without their starting goaltender, their Stanley Cup aspirations are in trouble, starting with this matchup.
Why The Rangers Can Cover The Spread/Win
The New York Rangers have sneakily made their way into the second seed this season, and almost even won the division outright. While they aren’t the best scoring team, the Rangers thrive on defense, especially in their own crease. Igor Shesterkin easily has the Vezina Trophy locked up for the best goaltender in the league this season, and he’ll look to add on to his winning ways here tonight. Shesterkin put up an unbelievable .935 save percentage while allowing just 2.07 goals against through 53 games played this season. I would be shocked if he’s not borderline considered the best goaltender in the world right now.
Not only did Shesterkin shut down the entire league this season, he particularly shut down the Penguins, sporting a save percentage of .960 through the four games played. The Rangers’ defense, in general, is very good, and in the playoffs, defense wins championships. I think the Rangers are going to have a very deep playoff run in their future. Not necessarily winning a cup, but they’re very close.
Final Penguins-Rangers Prediction & Pick
This is a nightmare scenario for the Penguins are they will be without their starting goaltender for at least game one. With that said, I think this is a no-brainer, give me the Rangers to win game one in Madison Square Garden. I’m relying extremely heavily on Shesterkin to lead the Rangers deep into the playoffs, and it starts with a win here tonight.
With that said, I also want to make a series prediction: Rangers in 5-6, depending on the health of Jarry. The Penguins will easily steal a game at home, but if Jarry can’t make it back by game three at the minimum, give me the Rangers in five.
Final Penguins-Rangers Prediction and Pick: Rangers Moneyline (-134)