Turnaround for Game 3
The Rangers will host the Penguins on Monday at Madison Square Garden in New York City with the opening face-off slated for 7:35 PM ET. This will be game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series which is tied up at 1-1. According to my projected NHL betting odds the Rangers will be a -110 money line home favorite and the posted total should be at 5.0. The Penguins have defeated the Rangers in 11 of their last 15-games played. These teams have seen just 1 of their previous 10 meetings at Madison Square Garden stay under the total.
Win Last Night for the Penguins
Pittsburgh came up with a huge effort last night at home winning 3-0. The Penguins entered that contest knowing they could ill afford to fall behind 2-0 in the series, and then having to go on the road for the next 2-games. They responded like a champion with a workmanlike effort in outshooting the Rangers 35-22 and dominating the game. Marc Andre-Fleury turned in what was arguably his best performance of the postseason thus far by stopping all 22 shots on goal to earn the shutout. Although the critics will say the Rangers sustained very little, if any, sustained offensive pressure throughout the game. The Penguins need to get the NHL regular season leading scorer, and frontrunner for the league’s MVP, Sidney Crosby to regain his goal scoring touch. Crosby has now gone 13 consecutive playoff games dating back to last year without scoring a goal. Despite that goal scoring drought Crosby played a strong game last night with 6 shots on goal while logging over 20-minutes of ice time. Crosby will also be fighting a streak in which he’s failed to score a goal in 9 consecutive games at Madison Square Garden. However, he’s had 12 assists in those 9-games.
and Uninspired Effort Last Night
The Rangers for lack of a better phrase just seemed to not show up for last night’s 3-0 loss at Pittsburgh. Granted they’ve been a victim of some unfavorable scheduling during this postseason, but this isn’t the time of year where that excuse carries a lot of credence. Tonight will be the Rangers 5th game in the last 7-days which is extremely rare during the postseason modern era. They concluded their 7-game quarterfinal series win over the Philadelphia Flyers by playing Games 6 and 7 on consecutive nights, and now encounter the same task early in this series. The Rangers power play continues to struggle by going by failing to score in 4 opportunities last night, and has now gone scoreless on 29 consecutive man power advantages. On a positive note, Henrik Lundquist was stellar once again last night by stopping 32 of 34 shots on goal, and was able to keep the Rangers within striking distance in a game they had no business of having a remote chance of winning. The silver lining to the lack of rest, and coming off a loss, will be returning home where they’ve gone 3-1 thus far this postseason.
The Rangers should get a boost of energy from their home crowd tonight. However, this is a tired hockey team both mentally and physically right now. After enduring a grueling 7-games series against the Flyers, The Rangers opened this series after just 1-day of rest, and has the unenviable task of playing the first 3-games versus the Penguins in just 4-days. I look for the Penguins to take control of this game by the middle of the 2nd period on, and regain home ice advantage in the series.
Free NHL Pick: Penguins +100 over the Rangers