Pittsburgh Penguins vs. N.Y. Rangers Free Picks & NHL Preview

Penguins vs Rangers NHL Spread/Handicapping

Penguins at Rangers in a Battle of the Surprising .500 teams

The New York Rangers close out a three game home stand Thursday when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins who have won five straight in the series including their last three games at MSG. The Penguins enter Thursday’s game having lost three of their last four games while the Rangers have shrugged off a slow start to win three of their last four.

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Pittsburgh Penguins (3-3-0-0) at NY Rangers (3-3-0-0)
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, January 31, 2013
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
Broadcast: RDS, NHLN-US, ROOT, MSG
Pens vs. Rangers Betting Lines from Bovada
Pittsburgh Penguins +1½ -275 +110 Ov 5½ +104
New York Rangers -1½ +230 -121 Un 5½ -115

The Rangers got some bad news after their 2-1 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday however – Captain Ryan Callahan will miss 10-14 days after injuring his shoulder in a skirmish in that game.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have had a rough time since winning their first two games of the season. Losers of three of their last four games including a 4-1 loss to the Islanders Tuesday night, the Pens have been outscored 13-6 in their last four – the power play is just 1 for 14 over that stretch! The Pens are averaging just 2.5 goals per game so far and they are allowing 3.00 – not exactly a recipe for success for this talent-latent team.

Although the offense has been a bit of an issue in Pittsburgh, you certainly can’t blame Sidney Crosby who has three goals and three assists in his last five games. But six goals in four games overall simply isn’t going to get it done.

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Defensively the Penguins have also been far from stellar. Marc-Andre Fleury is 1-2-0 in his last three games with an uncharacteristic 3.64 goals against average and a .863 save percentage. Like the offense, those numbers are bound to change – it is just a matter of when.

While the Pens have been struggling, the Rangers have picked up their play as of late having won three of their last four games. Since a loss to the Pens 10 days ago, the Rangers have looked much better offensively and defensively. They have held their last three opponents to five total goals and Henrik Lundqvist has shaken some poor early season play and is 2-1-0 in his last three starts with a Lundqvist-like 1.68 GAA and .935 save percentage. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Four Rangers are averaging a point per game so far this season for a team that struggled to score last year. Marion Gaborik leads the team with 8 points while Brad Richards, Rick Nash and Michael Del Zotto each have six. We know the Rangers will play strong defense but the added element up front makes this team very dangerous going forward.

NHL Betting Predictions:

A few trends to consider:

• Over is 16-6-4 in PIT last 26 road games.
• Over is 33-14-5 in PIT last 52 overall.
• PIT are 35-17 in their last 52 overall.
• Under is 12-4-9 in NYR last 25 overall.
• NYR are 2-6 in their last 8 games following a win.
• Over is 5-2-3 in NYR last 10 Thu. games.
• PIT are 8-2 in the last 10 meetings in New York.
• Over is 7-2-1 in the last 10 meetings.

The Penguins have certainly gotten the better of the Rangers the last couple of seasons but a look at Pittsburgh’s recent play raises a red flag or two. The loss of Ryan Callahan figures to loom large both in the defensive end and on the penalty kill but the Penguins haven’t exactly been threatening on the power play and on offense in their last four games. The Pittsburgh Penguins – an underdog against a team they have owned? You better believe it!

Pick: New York Rangers -121

By DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.