New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins

 

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The New York Rangers have struggled through the first four games of the season at 1-2-1 and three points. The Rangers are seventh in the eight-team East division. New York lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night 4-3 in a shootout in the first of two straight games against the Penguins.The only game of the season the Rangers have won was the second game against the New York Islanders, when the Rangers were 5-0 winners after losing the opening game to the Islanders 4-0.

The Pittsburgh Penguins open the season with two consecutive losses on the road to the Philadelphia Flyers being outscored 11-5, but Pittsburgh followed that with a two-game sweep over the Washington Capitals at home and have added a victory over the New York Rangers in the opening game of two versus New York. Pittsburgh is 3-2-1 with six points and it is tied for third place in the East division two games behind first-place Washington.

Artemi Panarin Starting the Season Strong

Russian Artemi Panarin is leading the New York Rangers in goals scored with two and in overall points with five. One of Panarin’s two goals was on the power-play and the Rangers center has taken 12 shots on goal. The assists leader for the Rangers is Phillip Di Giuseppe with four. Pavel Buchnevich, Filip Chytil and Kaapo Kakko have also scored two goals each for the Rangers. New York as a team in scoring an average of 2.83 goals per game and is allowing an average of the same 2.83 goals per game.

Goaltending to start the season has been solid for the Rangers. Alexander Georgiev is 1-1-0 within goals-against average of 2.40 and a .907 save percentage. Georgiev has one shutout and has pushed aside 39 of the 43 shots he has faced in net. The Rangers power play is scoring 20.7% of the time and the penalty-kill unit has been effective 70.0% of the time.

Injury Report: Kevin Rooney is questionable for Sunday with an undisclosed injury that has kept the center out the last three games

Penguins bounce back after slow start

The Pittsburgh Penguins opened the regular season with two straight losses to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Penguins were defeated on opening night 6-3 and lost 5-2 in the second game of the season two nights later. However, Pittsburgh has bounced back with three consecutive victories. The Penguins swept the Washington Capitals 4-3 and 5-4 in a two-game series and opened this current series against the Rangers with a 4-3 victory. Sidney Crosby is leading the scoring parade for Pittsburgh with three goals and has a team-high five points, while Bryan Rush has three assists to lead the Penguins.

In goal, Casey DeSmith is 2-0-0 with a goals-against average of 2.76 and .879 save percentage. DeSmith has pushed aside 54 of 62 shots he has faced in net. Tristan Jarry is 1-2-0 with a goals-against average of 5.28 and a .829 save percentage. Jarry has pushed aside 55 of the 67 shots he has faced in net. The Penguins are scoring an average of 3.14 goals per game and allowing an average of 3.86 goals per game, while the power play has been very effective by scoring an average of 31.8% of the time and the penalty kill unit has been solid with an effective rate of 74.1%.

Injury Report:Mike Matheson, Sam Miletic, Marcus Pettersson, and Juuso Riikola are out indefinitely, while Zach Aston-Reese is due back in mid February and Zach Trotman is due back in early March

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

Pittsburgh started the season slow but has won each of the last three games including the first game of this series with the Rangers on Friday. The Penguins have received solid goaltending from Casey DeSmith, while on the other end of the ice Sidney Crosby has led the Penguins charge with a team-high three goals and five points. The New York Rangers have lost seven of their last eight dating back to last season and have lost each of the last four played on the road. Pittsburgh has defeated New York in 16 of the last 23 meetings between the two.

Prediction:
Pittsburgh Penguins -135

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

The New York Rangers give up plenty of goals when on the road and the total has finished over in 7 of New York’s last 10 and away from home. The total has also finished over in 10 of the last 11 games played in Pittsburgh between these two rivals and in 17 of the last 26 games overall between the two.

Prediction:
OVER 6.5