Free NHL Picks: Penguins at Rangers Odds
by George Monroy - 12/17/2013
The Pittsburgh Penguins are simply chugging along through the season, racking up wins and setting themselves up for the playoffs. The team has the most points in the Eastern Conference and has already built a huge gap between its closest division competitor, the Washington Capitals. Sidney Crosby and the Penguins lead the Metropolitan by 10 points and are not planning on relinquishing that lead any time soon. However, Pittsburgh would love to earn as many points as possible before it faces a rough four-game road trip to end the year.
The New York Rangers are struggling to gain any kind of footing during the month of December. The team has lost five of its last seven matchups and has only one victory in regulation over that span. New York may have been hoping that a nine-game homestand would help turn its season around, but five games in, the team has done nothing but squander that opportunity. The Rangers will be looking to earn a third victory during their lengthy homestand on Wednesday night against the Penguins. Let’s take a closer look at the matchup with predictions and analysis.
Penguins at Rangers Betting Story Lines
Pittsburgh has won four games in a row and nine of its last 10 dating back to the end of November. The team has outscored its opponents a whopping 36-17, and its two net minders, Marc-Andre Fleury and Jeff Zatkoff, have been dominant during that span. Both men have only allowed an average of 1.7 goals per game, and each has a save percentage of .910 or better. Pittsburgh, as a group, does not put its goaltenders in compromising positions and only allows an average of 26 shot attempts per game.
The Penguins have been hit with the injury bug over the last few weeks as their second-leading points scorer, Evgeni Malkin, has been listed as day-to-day due to a leg injury suffered on Saturday. The team currently has 12 players that will miss Wednesday’s game due to injury or suspension. At this point Pittsburgh is probably just thankful that its team captain, and the NHL’s points leader, Sidney Crosby, has not suffered any significant injuries.
New York needed overtime and shootouts against the Calgary Flames to earn the first win of its nine-game homestand. The team has been outscored 19-11 over its last five games and has not been particularly competitive in any of those matchups. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has given up 17 goals in his last five starts and is having a tough time protecting the net. Lundqvist, for the season, is allowing 2.71 goals per game.
The Rangers still have three more home games left after Wednesday’s matchup against Pittsburgh. The team will then head out on the road for a five-game trip that will stretch into January, and if New York cannot find a way to start winning those games, the squad might start to see its playoff hopes diminish.
Penguins at Rangers NHL Betting Odds and Key Trends
Pittsburgh opened as a -126 road favorite over the +114 underdog Rangers. The total was set at five goals, with the “over” being favored at -116. The New York has won each of its last seven Wednesday games, but it is 1-4 over its last five overall games, 1-5 over its last six home games and 0-4 following a win.
Pittsburgh is 5-0 against the Metropolitan Division and 4-1 over its last five road games. The team has gone “under” in three of its last five games and in four of its last seven against the Metropolitan. Head-to-head, the home team is 4-0 in the last four matchups, while the “over” is 7-1-1 over the last nine meetings in New York. The Penguins have also won nine of the last 13 matchups in New York.
Free NHL Picks: Penguins at Rangers Predictions
New York has struggled during a portion of its schedule that was supposed to reenergize the team after starting out the season with nine straight road games. The Rangers do not have a go-to player on offense and can’t protect the net on defense. Pittsburgh may be missing its second-best player in Evgeni Malkin, but the team still has more than enough talent to get big road win in New York. At this point, the Rangers do not seem invested in their season, and another home loss to the Penguins might not mean much to the team. Take Pittsburgh on the moneyline.
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