The New York Rangers will host the New York Islanders on Thursday night in the first of many ‘Battle of New York’ matchups we’ll see out of the two Eastern Conference rivals this coming campaign.
The Rangers are looking to rebound in 2021 after slinking out of last season’s postseason without so much as a whimper. The atmosphere is much different for an Islanders club that made an improbable run to last season’s Eastern Conference Finals.
With the outlook for these Big Apple rivals a lot different to start the 2021 NHL season, let’s find out if the Isles are the online betting pick to get it done on the road or whether Rangers are the better sportsbook pick at home.
First, let’s take a look at all of the NHL odds for NYC’s NHL opening night.
NY Islanders at NY Rangers
When: Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 7:05 PM ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
NHL Odds: NY Rangers -1½
Moneyline: Islanders -115/Rangers -105
Can Islanders Build On Stunning Run?
The Isles went 35-23-10 to get into last season’s playoffs as the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. Then, things got really interesting as New York dispatched No. 10 Florida 3-1 in the qualifying round before ousting 2018 champion and No. 3 seed Washington in five games in the Round of 16.
The Islanders then got past a previously red-hot Philly squad in the Eastern Conference semis in a seven-game thriller while winning the close-out game 4-0. Hell, the seventh-seeded Isles put up a heck of a fight against No. 2 Tampa Bay in the conference finals before bowing out in six games, with the last two going to overtime. The Islanders added veteran goalie Cory Schneider, but are back, almost virtually intact from last season after finishing 22nd in scoring (2.8 gpg), but an impressive ninth in goals allowed (2.8 gpg).
Check Out the 2021 Hart Memorial NHL MVP Odds.
Rangers Looking To Rebound!
The Rangers went 37-28-5 to get into the playoffs as the 11th of 12 seeds in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, New York’s postseason run came to an abrupt halt as the Rangers were dispatched by No. 6 Carolina in three swift games in the qualifying round.
New York finished last season ranked an impressive fifth in scoring (3.3 gpg), but just 23rd in goals allowed (3.1 gpg). The Rangers parted ways with longtime goalie Henrik Lundqvist before he ultimately retired just last week after signing with Washington in the offseason. Now, the Rangers will turn to promising young net-minder Igor Shesterkin after he went 10-2, with .932 save percentage in 12 games last season.
The odds to win the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup are value-packed!
Expert Analysis and Prediction
The Rangers might be playing at home, but I don’t think it matters where these two teams meet these days. I expect Islanders winger Anthony Beauvillier and center Brock Nelson to both pick up right where they left off last season when they both lit the lamp nine times in 22 playoff games.
The Rangers were more potent offensively last season, but their defense was lacking to say the least. The Isles were one of the stingiest teams in the league last season and they showed some serious grit in the postseason.
The underdog in this rivalry is 4-0 in the last four meetings while the road team has gone 5-1 in the last six meetings. I’m going with the Islanders to build on last season’s thrilling playoff run right out of the gate in 2021!
Pick: Islanders 3 Rangers 2
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