NHL Hockey Lines, Penguins vs. Rangers Betting Picks

Hockey Betting Lines

Penguins vs. Rangers Picks

By Rock Westfall

Unconditional surrender was submitted by the New York Rangers on February 25 and 26 when they sent Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh, and JT Miller packing at the trade deadline.  The white flag was raised with a public admission letter to their fans indicating the pain of a rebuild was to begin.  Playoffs are now a pipe dream for the Broadway Blueshirts and their fans for what could be years to come.  For the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, a post season berth is almost certain.  What is not certain is their goaltending situation as Matt Murray is out indefinitely.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers
Date and Time: Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
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Penguins vs. Rangers TV Coverage: NBCSN “Rivalry Night”

Goal scoring was a problem for the Rangers before the trades and now it’s even worse.  New York ranks 20th in the NHL for goal scoring.  Even more problematic is a backend that lost its best defenseman in McDonagh.  The Rangers are 25th in the NHL for goals against. With three wins in their last ten games those metrics illustrate why they will be hitting the links next month.

The Penguins have been wildly inconsistent but have managed to catch the Washington Capitals for the lead in the Metropolitan Division.  Despite the absence of Murray, the Pens have beat the NHL odds in four of their last five games.  Over the total has paid in seven of their last ten games.

Injury report

Penguins goalie Matt Murray has been out since March 2 and his status remains indefinite.  Murray backstopped both of the Penguins Stanley Cup titles and his absence leaves an incalculable void.  Rangers backup goalie Ondrej Pavelec is out until mid-March with a bad knee.  Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk is also battling a bad knee and will be out another couple of weeks for the Blueshirts.

Goalie Report

Filling in for Murray has been 22-year-old rookie Tristan Jarry.  Jarry has a .910 save percentage in 25 games this season.  However, in his last five starts he has shown signs of feeling the extra pressure with a slumping save percentage of .887.  Backup Casey DeSmith has a .919 save percentage in ten games.  Interestingly enough the Rangers did not trade marquee man Henrik Lundqvist at the deadline.  “King Henrik” remains the identity of the team.  The 12-year veteran has played better since the surrender with a save percentage of .927 in his last five starts compared to .916 for the entire season.  Alexander Georgiev is the New York backup with a strong .930 save percentage

Players to Watch

For the Broadway Blueshirts Lundqvist is clearly the man to watch.  He has held strong and not complained as the roster was gutted. He loves the Rangers and living in the Big Apple.  He continues to play with pride and represents the team with pure class.  Right wing Mats Zuccarello carries the offensive burden for the Rangers.  He leads the team in scoring with 12 goals and 34 assists.  Star power is the cache of the Penguins.  Boasting three top forwards in Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel they have an embarrassment of riches.  Defenseman Kris Letang is one of the best in the game.  Center Jake Guentzel and right wing Patric Hornqvist are important contributors, especially on the power play.  Malkin leads Pittsburgh with 39 goals and 48 assists.  Additionally, he owns 13 goals and 20 assists on the power play.

Special Teams

The Penguins have the top power play in the NHL.  The Rangers rank eighth for penalty killing though their unit is much thinner now than it was for most of the season.

Key Stats

Pittsburgh has controlled the cashier’s cage in this head to head series with 12 payouts in their last 16 meetings with the Rangers.  Eight of the last nine games between the Rangers and Pens have gone over the total.

Pittsburgh has left MSG with a sack of cash in seven of their last eight visits.  Just one of the last five games in New York between these teams has gone under the total.

Penguins vs. Rangers Free Picks

While Pittsburgh has been erratic without Murray they remain considerably deeper and more capable.  They are also playing for more.

Penguins vs. Rangers Pick: Bet the Pittsburgh Penguins money line
Penguins vs. Rangers Score Prediction: Penguins 5, Rangers 2

Pittsburgh Penguins vs St. Louis Blues Lines, NHL Hockey Picks

NHL Hockey Odds

Penguins at Blues Picks

By Jonathan Willis

The Pittsburgh Penguins finally seem to be rounding into form after middling performances through the first two-thirds of the season. Pittsburgh is now in second place in the Metropolitan Division after a big win over Vegas earlier in the week. A road win against the St. Louis Blues would help them close the distance on the Washington Capitals in the race for the division crown.

St. Louis has ideas of its own though. The Blues have the fourth-best record in the West as of Friday morning, and they have been great at home too.

Pittsburgh Penguins at St. Louis Blues
Date and Time:Sunday, February 11, 2018, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
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Penguins at Blues TV Coverage: NBC

Coming into this one, Pittsburgh has won five of its last six games. However, all of those wins came at home, and the one time the Penguins went on the road, they looked completely listless against the Devils. This team has not been good on the road this season, with a 10-15-2 record away from the Steel City.

Over has been a good bet in Pittsburgh games recently, as the offense has scored at least five goals in four of its last five. Unsurprisingly, all four of those games went over the total.

St. Louis has won seven of its last ten coming into this game, and the Blues have been favored in eight of their last ten overall. Unlike Pittsburgh, the under has been the thing to bet in St. Louis games this season. Seven of the last ten games have gone under the total.

Injuries to Watch

The Penguins are winning games despite a number of injuries that have cut into this team’s depth. Wingers like Colin Sheary, PartricHornqvist, and Tom Kuhnhackl have all been added to the injured reserve list with lower-body injuries, causing Pittsburgh to have to rely on some of its depth down in the AHL. Sheary should return soon, but Hornqvist and Kuhnhackl are expected to be out a while.

St. Louis is relatively clean on the injury front. There are no new injuries listed for the Blues, just the two players that have been out since the pre-season.

Matchup to Watch

There has been a world of difference between the power play units for these two teams this year. Pittsburgh has the best power play in the NHL. The Penguins typically stack Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Phil Kessel together, and that is a tough combination to stop. They are finding the net on 26.8 percent of their opportunities, and that buoyed this team when it struggled earlier in the year.

Meanwhile, St. Louis has one of the worst power plays in the NHL. They score at a little over half the rate that Pittsburgh does, and that has hurt this team in low scoring games. The Blues do have more talent on offense than last season, but they need to find something that works on the power play.

Last Meeting

These two teams opened the season against each other in the Steel City and this will be their second meeting of the year. St. Louis looked excellent on offense in its opener, with Alex Pietrangelo finding the net twice in a 5-4 win.

Pittsburgh looked out of sorts on the defensive front, as its back line looked slow trying to cover the Blues’ speedy wingers. In particular, Olli Maatta was caught out of place a handful of times. It will be interesting to see whether or not the Blues try to take advantage of that again.

Penguins at Blues Free Picks

This is a tough spot for Pittsburgh to win in. The Pens have a tough road game against the Stars on Friday night and then have to make their way up here. St. Louis has been solid at home this year, winning 63.3 percent of their outings in regulation. Look for the Blues to chalk up another win here to stay in the running for a home playoff series.

Penguins at Blues Pick: Lay the chalk with the Blues
Penguins at Blues Score Prediction: Blues 3 – Penguins 2

NHL Hockey Predictions, Flyers vs Red Wings Betting Picks

NHL Hockey Odds

Flyers at Red Wings Picks

By Adam Markowitz

It’s been another rebuilding year for the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit looks like it is going to miss out on the playoffs yet again this season. Only two teams in the East currently have worse records, and they have been unable to string together good performances lately too. The Red Wings are hopeful that they can right the ship at least a little bit at this point. A win over the Philadelphia Flyers on national television would help in that regard.

Philadelphia Flyers at Detroit Red Wings
Date and Time:Tuesday, January 23, 2018, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
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Flyers at Red Wings TV Coverage: NBCSN

Philadelphia is one of the hotter teams in the NHL at the moment. The Flyers have won seven of their last eight and just got done picking up a nice road win against the Capitals on Sunday afternoon.

Yet another road win has made this a great team to bet on away from home. The Flyers have gotten points in 14 of their 22 road games, and are 17-5 ATS on the road.

Detroit has not had much to celebrate this season, home or away. The Red Wings have lost units on both the moneyline and the puck line this year. Lately, they have been in a particularly bad slump, losing four of their last five. Additionally, Detroit has lost its last three home games.

Injuries to Watch

The Red Wings are expecting to have one back from injury for this one. C Luke Glendening has been out for over a month with a wrist injury, but looks set to make his return against the Flyers. However, three other injured players look set to miss this game. Both C Darren Helm and LW Justin Abdelkader have been out for about a week and neither one is expected to play here. Additionally, D Trevor Daley suffered an injury on Saturday and is likely to miss this one.

For Philadelphia, there is nothing new to report on the injury front. That’s a welcome spot of news this time of year. The Flyers are hoping that luck holds up for as long as possible.

Matchup to Watch

Those injuries have been very costly for the Red Wings. Detroit is one of the worst teams on the penalty kill in the NHL. The Red Wings are allowing teams to score 21.1 percent of the time they are on the power play, a figure that is well below-average.

Without players like Helm, Abdelkader, and Daley, the penalty kill has performed even worse. Detroit has allowed opponents to score two power play goals in three of its last four games as a result of the injuries. Unsurprisingly, the Red Wings lost all three of those games by multiple goals.

Philadelphia has not scored on the power play in its last four games, but might break through here. They found the back of the net on their lone power play against Detroit the last time these teams met and will look to do so again.

Flyers at Red Wings Free Picks

During Philadelphia’s run, the Flyers have gotten good production out of both their goaltenders and their offense. Through the first half of the streak, the offense led the way with 21 goals in the first four games. Lately, it’s been defense though. Philly has given up just four goals in its last three games, and held Washington to just one goal on the road.

Give the Flyers credit for bouncing back when they could have mailed it in early. They lost 10 games in a row during the last half of November, putting them in a bad spot. However, they have since rallied and are now looking like a playoff team. In particular, the play of Michal Neuvirth and Brian Elliott has been much better than expected. Goaltending let down Philly last year, but it has been a boon this season.

With the Red Wings having to take a road trip to New Jersey the night before this game, the Flyers will have a day of rest. That will help them pick up the win.

Flyers at Red Wings Pick: Take the Flyers to get it done on the road here
Flyers at Red Wings Score Prediction: Flyers 3 – Red Wings 2

NHL Hockey Betting Odds, Rangers vs Penguins Lines

NHL Odds

Rangers at Penguins Picks

By Adam Markowitz

The Pittsburgh Penguins are in serious danger of missing out on the postseason. The back-to-back Stanley Cup champions are currently sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and have a goal differential of -12. They have been playing better in recent weeks, but a terrible December put them behind the eight ball in the conference.

Pittsburgh will play host to the New York Rangers this weekend. The Rangers have overcome an awful start to the season and are battling for a playoff spot. A road win against a division rival would be nice.

New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins
Date and Time: Sunday, January 14, 2018, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Rangers at Penguins TV Coverage: NBCSN

Both of these teams will be playing on Saturday afternoon, so fatigue may be a little bit of a factor.

Pittsburgh has won three of its last four. However, the Penguins have not won a home game in regulation in quite a long time. The last time the Pens won a home game without going to overtime was all the way back on December 2, when they beat Buffalo 5-1. Since then, they have played eight home games. They lost four in regulation, won two in overtime, and won two in a shootout.

The Rangers have a knack of getting at least a point in each of their road games. Although they lost 2-1 to Vegas in their last road game, this team had ended regulation tied up in five straight road tilts prior to that. Under has been a great play in Rangers games recently, with 10 of their last 13 finishing under the total.

Injuries to Watch

New York’s Chris Kreider will be out for at least another month after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot. The Rangers might have another winger back for this one though as Kevin Hayes looks set to return from a concussion.

For Pittsburgh, Carter Rowney and Bryan Rust will be out for a significant amount of time. However, it looks like defenseman Chad Ruhwedel might be able to return for this one.

Key Stats

The main thing keeping Pittsburgh in the mix is its success on the power play. The Penguins have the NHL’s best power play, finding the back of the net on 26.6 percent of their opportunities this year.

This team has been on fire on the power play over its last nine games. Pittsburgh found the back of the net in six of those games and scored twice on the power play in four of those tilts. Through the nine games, the Penguins are 10-26 on the man advantage. That’s an incredible number over a significant period of time.

To make things easier, the penalty kill is one of the ten best units in the NHL. Pittsburgh has successfully killed off all penalties in seven straight games. Opponents had a combined 17 power play opportunities in those games, and the Penguins defenders helped them get some needed points by blanking them.

Player to Watch

New York has had a hard time generating offense over the last couple weeks. The Rangers have tallied just eight goals in their last five games, so one of their scorers needs to get back on track.

We all knew that Michael Grabner was going to come back down to Earth after his hot start, so now it’s up to players like Mika Zibanejad to start finding the back of the net for the Rangers. Zibanejad is second on the team in scoring, but has scored almost half of his goals on the power play. He needs to start scoring at even strength.

Rangers at Penguins Free Picks

These teams are very familiar with each other. They have already met twice this year with both games going over the total and the road teams winning each time.

Pittsburgh is going to be favored here, but with how it has played at home, the Rangers are a great bet. You can get them at a good price and should back them here.

Rangers at Penguins Pick: Back the Rangers on the road
Rangers at Penguins Score Prediction: Rangers 3 – Penguins 2

NHL Betting Odds, Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins Picks

NHL Odds

Lightning at Bruins Picks

By Adam Markowitz

The Tampa Bay Lightning have not got off to a good start on this recent road swing. The best team in the East dropped their first two games and has to face Buffalo on Tuesday night before traveling to face the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night in a nationally televised affair. Boston has been at home for the holidays and will have had two days of rest before this one, making the task for Tampa Bay that much harder.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins
Date and Time:Wednesday, November 29, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
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Lightning at Bruins TV Coverage: NBCSN

Despite a two-game losing streak, the Lightning are the best team in the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay is 16-5-2 this season and had won six of its last seven before dropping consecutive road games to Washington and Pittsburgh. Because of their dominance, Tampa Bay has been favored in almost every game this season, but might be an underdog here given the situation. The last two times the Lightning were underdogs, they won outright.

Boston got off to a slow start this season, but has recently rallied. The Bruins are 10-8-4, but have won four of their last five games. Surprisingly enough, Boston won each of the four games in which it was an underdog, but lost the one game in which it was a favorite. The boys from Beantown are 9-13 ATS this season.

Key Stats

Tampa Bay’s offense sputtered a little bit against Washington and Pittsburgh, but there’s no doubt that this is still one of the best teams in the NHL. The Lightning are averaging 3.7 goals per game and Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are trying to one-up each other for both the Art Ross and the Hart Trophy at this point in the season.

Kucherov is the goal scorer of the two and has tallied 17 goals on the season. The most impressive part of his scoring is the fact that almost all of it is done at even strength. All but three of his goals were at even strength, giving this team a huge edge on their opponents.

Stamkos is more of a distributor, but he has become the assassin on the power play. All but three of his goals were on the power play this season, and 16 of his 36 points came on the man advantage.

The success of Kucherov and Stamkos has overshadowed the emergence of a great second line, led by Vladislav Namestnikov. Namestnikov is on pace to shatter his career-best for points in a season by double and has 22 points in 23 games this season. He has been a power play ace too with nine points on the man advantage.

Player to Watch

It looks like Boston will continue to use Anton Khudobin as its primary goaltender for the time being. Khubodin started all four games in the Bruins’ recent win streak, and Tuukka Rask started in the loss against Edmonton on Sunday.

There’s been a stark difference in performance between the two this season. Khubodin has led his team to at least a point in all nine of his starts, while Rask has been in net for all eight of the Bruins regulation losses.

Khubodin will almost certainly be in net in this one, as his GAA is 0.7 goals better than Rask and his save percentage is 33 points higher at this point.

Lightning at Bruins Free Picks

Tampa Bay has a lights out goalie of its own in Andrei Vasilevskiy, however, he probably won’t get the start in this one. The last three times the Lightning played road games in back-to-back nights, Peter Budaj was in net for the second game. Budaj is a significant downgrade from Vasilevskiy and there is no question that the Bruins will be favorites if he is the starter. He has a 3.75 GAA and a .867 save percentage this season and just one win to his name.

I expect Budaj to get the start as the trend should continue on this road swing, but if Vasilevskiy is in net, hold off on playing Boston.

Lightning at Bruins Pick: Take Boston on the moneyline
Lightning at Bruins Score Prediction: Bruins5 – Lightning 3