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

NHL Hockey Predictions, Penguins vs Kings Betting Picks

NHLOpening Odds

Penguins at Kings Picks

By Adam Markowitz

After missing out on the playoffs in two of the past three seasons, the Los Angeles Kings are looking to get back to the postseason. The Kings have the best defense in the NHL and have rode that defense this year. However, that defense has had some major problems over the past four games, allowing four goals each game. That has led to four straight losses. Now, the Pittsburgh Penguins are coming to town, and the Kings better hope that defense is shored up.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Los Angeles Kings
Date and Time:Thursday, January 18, 2018, 10 p.m. ET
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
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Penguins at Kings TV Coverage: NBCSN

Pittsburgh has not fared well on the road this season. The Penguins have won just nine of their 23 road games and will be behind the eight ball in this one. Whereas the Kings get a few days of rest prior to this game, the Penguins play Anaheim on Wednesday night and will have to travel to face San Jose on Saturday.

The Penguins were a middling team for the first two months of the season, but they have turned it on in recent weeks just like they have in past years. They have won four straight coming into this one, thanks to an offense that has scored 19 goals in those four games.

Los Angeles is one of the rare teams that is better on the road than at home. The Kings have won just half of their home games this season and are 6-16 on the goal line in the Staples Center. During this recent poor stretch of play, the last three games have been at home.

Injuries to Watch

The Kings have been without Jeff Carter all season long. He has been sidelined with an ankle injury, but the team recently got good news as he has finally returned to the ice and is skating on his own.

Not having Carter hasn’t been easy, but this team has really struggled since defenseman Jake Muzzin went on IR with an upper-body injury. It’s no surprise that this team’s defensive collapse has happened with him out of the lineup. The Kings need to get him back soon.

Chad Ruhwedel and Bryan Rust have been on injured reserve with upper-body injuries since the tail end of December, and Carter Rowney was added to IR for that same reason a week later. Ruhwedel may be able to go, but Rust and Rowney will be out for a few weeks longer.

Pittsburgh got good news too when it was announced that Matt Murray would make the West Coast road trip with the team. Murray has been out for the last two games for personal reasons, and his status was up in the air for this trip.

Matchup to Watch

The league’s best power play will face off against the league’s best penalty kill in this one.

With so much talent, it’s no wonder that Pittsburgh has the most effective power play in the NHL. The Penguins have scored on 26.5 percent of their chances as teams eventually crack under the waves of pressure that they can bring. The big three of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel have starred on the man advantage with the trio combining for 25 goals.

Los Angeles has allowed a power play goal in two if its last three games without Muzzin available. Still this is the NHL’s top defense and is tops at killing off penalties too. The Kings have successfully killed off 87.1 percent of power plays this season. That has helped them keep winning in spite of a middling offense.

Penguins at Kings Free Picks

Not having Muzzin is huge for the Kings. However, Pittsburgh won’t be able to take advantage of his absence. This is no longer a young team and road games in back-to-back nights take a toll. Anaheim plays a particularly physical brand of hockey, so Pittsburgh will be bruised heading into this one. That’s all the advantage LA needs.

Penguins at Kings Pick: Back the Kings at home
Penguins at Kings Score Prediction: Kings2 – Penguins 1