Penguins vs. Rangers playoff series odds, preview, prediction

NHL playoff sequence odds: Rangers -115/Penguins -105

Odds offered by BetMGM

There have been seemingly some raised eyebrows when the betting odds for this sequence got here out. Given the best way these two groups entered the playoffs, the sting the Rangers have in aim, the best way the season sequence shook out, and the truth that the Blueshirts have home-ice benefit, most folk assumed that New York could be favored on this sequence.

That wasn’t the case, nevertheless, as Pittsburgh opened as -120 favorites earlier than the Rangers took some cash to make it a real decide’em. The truth that this sequence is a decide’em with New York’s home-ice benefit implies that the betting market views Pittsburgh because the stronger workforce in a vacuum. That could be a notion that loads of individuals will debate as this sequence will get underway.

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Rangers vs. Penguins playoff sequence preview

For the primary half of the season, the Rangers had been considered as a little bit of a paper tiger. The Blueshirts posted middling numbers at 5-on-5 and the protection was leaky, however Igor Shesterkin performed at an all-world degree in aim and received the Rangers loads of factors on his personal. Shesterkin, who’s a shoo-in for the Vezina Trophy this season, led the NHL with a .935 save share and a +37.2 Objectives Saved Above Anticipated in 53 video games this season. As a workforce, the Rangers completed second within the NHL with a 2.52 goals-against common, however the truth that they had been even that top contemplating their defensive points within the first half is a testomony to Shesterkin’s play.

Shesterkin’s play-in aim is the important thing to this sequence. If he performs like he did for a lot of the season, the Penguins are in bother. But when he’s a degree or two under that, the paths to victory begin to open up for Pittsburgh.

That’s as a result of the Penguins had been the higher workforce at 5-on-5 this season. Whereas the Rangers completed twentieth within the NHL in objectives scored at 5-on-5 and solely had a +10 aim differential at 5-on-5, Pittsburgh completed twelfth in 5-on-5 objectives scored and boasted a +27 aim differential at evens.

A part of Pittsburgh’s sturdy aim differential at 5-on-5 is because of Tristan Jarry’s superlative first half in aim and Jarry is out for this sequence, however that is probably not as massive a priority as it will likely be made out to be by members of the media. Whereas Jarry posted stronger numbers than Casey DeSmith general this season, DeSmith has been in type for fairly some time now. Since Feb. 1, DeSmith has skated to a .927 save share and a +5.37 GSAx.

Penguins Rangers series
Sidney Crosby
NHLI through Getty Photographs

These numbers aren’t close to the place Shesterkin’s are, however that type of goaltending offers Pittsburgh an opportunity on this sequence. No person will ask DeSmith to outplay Shesterkin, however moderately simply maintain Pittsburgh within the sequence lengthy sufficient to let their 5-on-5 benefit make a distinction.

And Pittsburgh might want to win the 5-on-5 battle to have an opportunity on this best-of-7. The Penguins’ third-ranked penalty kill ought to assist mute New York’s fourth-ranked energy play, however Pittsburgh’s PP struggled for consistency this season and completed within the backside third of the circuit.

The Rangers have steadily improved all through this season and took care of the Penguins handily within the season sequence, however bookmakers view this best-of-7 sequence as a digital coin flip. On the floor, that won’t jive with most folk who anticipated the Blueshirts to be the favourite, however a glance underneath the floor reveals that the margins on this sequence are razor tight.

Rangers/Penguins betting prediction: Cross

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