April 19, 2016

NHL Hockey Betting: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers

NHL Hockey Betting:  Pittsburgh Penguins at New  York Rangers&h=253&w=372&zc=1

This series is tied 1-1 but to hear the New York media talk about it you’d think the Rangers were on the verge of winning the Stanley Cup. Pittsburgh ripped the Rangers in the opening game of the series winning 5-2 but New York came storming back in Game Two and returned the favor in a 4-2 victory. It was only the Penguins’ second loss in their last 11 games dating back to the regular season. The prevailing wisdom seems to be that with the Rangers hosting Games Three and Four at Madison Square Garden that they’ve got a huge advantage. Not so–the last 12 games played at MSG against the Penguins have seen the Rangers win 6 and lose 6. New York does have a 15-11-0 advantage overall in the last three seasons.

Pittsburgh’s goaltending situation is still a mess. Both Matt Murray and Marc-Andre Fleury are back at practice though Fleury has been ruled out for this contest. The team says that Murray is ‘an option’ but for now the Penguins tentatively have backup Jeff Zatkoff listed as their starter against Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist has underachieved this season though he had a decent Game Two after leaving Game One early with 29 saves on 31 shots.

The Penguins have responded like vikings after a nasty loss. After allowing four goals or more Pittsburgh is 11-4 +7.2 units this season. After a loss by two or more in their previous game they’re 13-5 +7.1 units. New York hasn’t exactly ‘built on success’ after a big win–13-13 -3.4 units after a win by 3 or more and 15-13 -0.8 after a four goal plus outburst in their previous game. Penguins won 3 of 4 regular season games from the Rangers this season including both games on the Rangers’ home ice. New York’s lone win was on 2/10/16 when they took a 3-0 victory in the Steel City.

Pittsburgh is still the better team. The goaltending situation is a concern but Lundqvist has been bothered by his Game One eye injury and just hasn’t been dominant this season. The trick is for Pittsburgh’s offense to keep the pressure on the Rangers instead of letting New York control the tempo like they did in Game Two.