Rangers Open as Favorites Over Pittsburgh Penguins
A Metropolitan Division rivalry goes up a notch when the New York Rangers host the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Rangers, who beat Pittsburgh three out of four times this season, will be the favorites to open Game 1 per their NHL betting lines. New York has handled Pittsburgh in recent meetings but can they draw first blood in the playoffs?
Penguins Must Solve Recent Playoff Woes
For the first time in a long time, the Pittsburgh Penguins enter the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a healthy roster. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang are all over 34-years-old with 15+ seasons of NHL experience but they are still legitimate threats who can carry the team.
Pittsburgh finished as a top-12 team in many major NHL metrics and has one of the best defenses, thanks to solid two-way play from Crosby and the likes – as well as top-tier goaltending from Tristan Jarry. The latter will miss the first two games but must return to resemble his early season form if Pittsburgh looks to get out of the first round.
Since winning their second straight Stanley Cup in 2017, Pittsburgh has gone 9-17 in the postseason and has failed to advance to the second round. But never underestimate the Penguins as they could be a lucrative bet online at their current state.
Rangers Have Matched Up Well Against Pens
As for the New York Rangers, this squad is in its best form since the year the Penguins won their last Stanley Cup. Gerard Gallant has turned the team around and both the offense and Igor Shesterkin in net, are playing to their full potential. Gallant and Shesterkin should be finalists for their respective awards.
Shesterkin also has a solid case as a Hart Trophy contender as he has more than made up for the Rangers’ defensive deficiencies. The Rangers have been outshot by at least four a game but are +46 in goal differential. Their clutch goal-scoring – the team is fourth in power-play percentage and tenth in shooting percentage.
Against Pittsburgh, the Rangers have outplayed the Penguins even on 5v5. Shesterkin has also only allowed one even-strength goal against them and has a whopping 96 save percentage against 101 shots faced in four starts.
Penguins vs Rangers Head-to-Head
The Pittsburgh Penguins have had some issues facing the New York Rangers, especially as a visitor. Pittsburgh has won just one of their last five visits to the Madison Square Garden. The total has also gone under in three of their four games this season.
Penguins vs Rangers Fight Information
- Game: Penguins (46-25-11) vs Rangers (52-24-6)
- Location: Madison Square Garden
- Day/Time: Tuesday, May 3rd, 7:00 p.m. ET
- Penguins vs Rangers Live Stream: NHL.TV
Penguins vs Rangers Betting Lines
Penguins vs Rangers Prediction
The New York Rangers could not have asked for a better matchup this postseason. This is not to make light of the Penguins, who are a deep and experienced team, but the Rangers have the better netminder and are better at converting on their scoring chances. Even if these teams play each other 50/50 on 5v5, the Rangers could skate away with more goals.
Pittsburgh has also struggled on the road in recent games going 1-5 in their last six trips. The Rangers, on the other hand, have won six of the last eight times they were favorites. In what is a must-watch game, take the Rangers on the sportsbook.