Rangers at Penguins Picks and NHL Betting Odds
by Dave Schwab - 4/5/2013
The New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins will wrap up the back end of a home-and-home series this Friday night at the CONSOL Energy Center in another huge Atlantic Division showdown. The puck is set to drop at 7 p.m. (ET), and it will be broadcast nationally on the NHL Network.
The Rangers hammered Pittsburgh 6-1 at home on Wednesday night as -125 favorites in a game that went “over” the five-goal totals line. They are now 3-2 in their last five games, with the total going over in three of the games.
Pittsburgh’s impressive 15-game winning streak has now turned into a two-game skid in which it has been outscored 10-2 with a 4-1 loss to Buffalo as a prohibitive -265 home favorite in its previous outing. Before Wednesday’s loss, the total has stayed “under” in 10 of its last 11 games, with the other one ending as a “push”.
Rangers at Penguins Betting Storylines
New York’s front office was busy wheeling and dealing before Wednesday’s NHL Trade Deadline in a move that sent an underperforming Marian Gaborik to Columbus for Derek Dorsett, Derick Brassard and John Moore in an effort to shake things up on a team that has also underperformed this year.
The Rangers were co-favorites with Pittsburgh to win the Eastern Conference this season, but through their first 36 games they are tied with New Jersey for the eighth and final playoff spot with a total of 39 points. They have played pretty well at home this season but head into Pittsburgh with a 6-9-1 record on the road. The one thing that has remained solid throughout the year has been New York’s defense with Henrik Lundqvist manning the goal. He has a goals-against average of 2.15 to complement the team’s 2.3 GAA, which is ranked fourth in the NHL.
Pittsburgh appears to be still in shock over losing its top point scorer, Sidney Crosby, who is out indefinitely with a broken jaw. Its amazing 15-game run through the East that has it in first place with 56 points has been replaced with a 0-2 team that has suddenly forgotten how to score in Crosby’s absence.
The Penguins are averaging 3.2 goals per game, which is the second-highest total in the league, but they are going to have to find a way to light the lamp without the league’s most electrifying player. Fortunately, they still have Chris Kunitz (20 goals and 25 assists) and James Neal (18 goals and 14 assists) along with a prolific goal scorer in Evgeni Malkin (when he is healthy). The addition of Jarome Iginla, who came over in an earlier trade with Calgary, and Jussi Jokinen, who was added in a last-minute trade with Carolina, should add a scoring punch to an already potent lineup.
Rangers vs. Penguins Betting Odds and Trends
The Rangers are 2-5 in their last seven road games but 8-3 in the second game of their last 11 home-and-home series. The total has stayed under in six of their last eight games against a team with a winning record.
The Penguins are 6-1 in their last seven games against the Atlantic Division and 20-6 in the second game of their last 26 home-and-home series. The total has stayed under in their last nine home games.
Head-to-head in this division rivalry, the road team is 14-6 in the last 20 meetings, and the total has stayed under in six of the last eight meetings in Pittsburgh. The Penguins are 3-1 in this season’s series with the total evenly split at 2-2.
Rangers at Penguins Picks and Betting Predictions
The Rangers are playing better hockey over the past few games, but Pittsburgh remains the class of the conference even with Crosby out of the lineup. Look for the Penguins to shake off the last two losses with a total team effort on Friday night that closely resembles how well they have played all season long.
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