Blackhawks at Rangers Picks
By Adam Markowitz
We’re getting a good look at the New York Rangers this week. The Rangers were on national television on New Year’s Day, taking on Buffalo in the Winter Classic, and now we will see them square off against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Rangers are in good position for the postseason at this moment, but would like to catch Washington and New Jersey. Meanwhile, Chicago is still struggling to shift into another level and would be out of the playoffs if the season ended today.
Chicago Blackhawks at New York Rangers
Date and Time: Wednesday, January 3, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
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Blackhawks at Rangers TV Coverage: NBCSN
Like most of the NHL, Chicago has been better at home than it has been on the road. However, the Blackhawks are still good at covering the puckline when they are the road team. They are 13-8 ATS on the road this season and have made bettors a little bit of money. That’s despite winning just one game on their latest five-game road trip.
The Rangers have been a solid team to bet on this season and have made you money whether backing them on the moneyline or ATS. They have won 15 of their 24 games at MSG, and have been lighting the lamp with regularity on home ice as well. Picking up an overtime ‘road’ win against Buffalo in the Winter Classic gives them a nice little boost too.
Player to Watch
It’s been a bumpy road for Henrik Lundqvist this season, but he is finally starting to look like ‘The King’ once again. Lundqvist did not have a good October, posting a 3.2 GAA and a save percentage under .900. He has really come alive over the last two months though.
In November, he posted a save percentage of .927, and he put up an even better number of .936 in the month of December. He was lights out against Buffalo in the Winter Classic too, so it looks like he might be off to a strong start in January.
He has been great at home too this season. Lundqvist is 13-4-2 on home ice with a save percentage of .923.
However, he really struggled in his previous outing against Chicago and didn’t’ make it through the game. Lundqvist allowed four goals on 34 shots in a 6-3 loss.
Blackhawks fans keep on waiting for this team to turn the corner. They have a positive goal differential, so they should have a better record then they do.
However, two main things have been holding this team back. The first is an inability to make teams pay by scoring on the power play. Chicago has the third-worst power play in the league, something that’s unfathomable considering the amount of offensive firepower on the roster. The Blackhawks have converted on just 15 percent of their chances this season.
Additionally, Chicago’s defense has allowed far too many shots on net. Opponents are putting 33 pucks on net a night against the Blackhawks, and that has burdened the goaltending. Corey Crawford has played well despite this, but backup Anton Forsberg has not.
Blackhawks at Rangers Free Picks
Patrick Kane is having a great season for the Blackhawks. He is averaging a point a game and has kept this offense respectable despite some down years from the other big names on the roster.Kane has 13 more points than anyone else on the team and needs to start getting more help from his teammates.
The Rangers don’t have a superstar on their roster, but have three solid lines that can give the team production. There are already 14 players who are in double-digits in points for the Rangers this season, and that makes it hard for teams without much depth at defense to battle this team effectively.
Chicago is going to have a tough time against New York’s second- and third-line. Look for each of those lines to net a goal in a Rangers victory.
Blackhawks at Rangers Pick: Grab the Rangers on the puck line
Blackhawks at Rangers Score Prediction: Rangers 3 – Blackhawks 1