NHL Hockey Betting: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers

NHL Hockey Betting:  Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers

The Pittsburgh Penguins can go up 3-1 on the New York Rangers with a victory here. Rangers fans and the myopic New York media had proclaimed the Rangers as legit Stanley Cup contenders after they tied the series with a Game Two victory. Now the Blueshirt fans can’t dump dirt on their team fast enough. The reality is that this incarnation of the Rangers isn’t a championship level team. Pittsburgh might be–the big question was goaltending. Jeff Zatkoff may be a competent enough backup goaltender but he’s not a starter that will lead a team to the Cup. Rookie Matt Murray just might be. The 21 year old is back in the lineup after suffering a head injury late in the regular season. He’ll get the start tonight and he was scary good for a first year netminder: 9-2-1, 2.00 Goals Against Average, 0.930 save percentage and a shutout.

Pittsburgh had struggled earlier in the year but absolutely caught fire in the stretch run. They’re 29-11 since mid January and are currently on a 16-3 run dating back to the regular season. Sidney Crosby is playing like Sidney Crosby again. The ‘missing link’ heading into the playoffs was goaltending with Murray and starter Marc-Andre Fleury sidelined. Fleury still remains sidelined though he is practicing–he suffered a concussion in late March. It’s actually his second concussion of the year so understandable that they want to be cautious with it.

The reality check is now coming in for the Rangers. Like we said at the outset, they’re not a great team. They’re not a bad team, just not a Cup team. They were #7 in goals per game during the regular season but otherwise nothing special statistically. They were 15th in goals against, 14th on the power play and 26th on the penalty kill. Henrik Lundqvist isn’t playing poorly but he’s not playing at a championship level. That’s a problem when you’re playing a team that sure appears to be playing at a Cup winning level. The Rangers have scored only 3 goals in their two losses and only managed 17 shots on goal in Game Three. If they keep that up they’ll be done before the weekend is over.