Depleted Rangers Will Continue Losing Streak in Vancouver

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 5:06 PM UTC

Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018 5:06 PM UTC

The New York Rangers have waived the white flag on the 2017-18 season and are good fade candidates the rest of the way – starting Wednesday in Vancouver.

New York Rangers (60 points) at Vancouver Canucks (55 points)Free NHL Pick: Canucks & UnderBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Five games on Wednesday’s NHL schedule with Rangers-Canucks the latest-starting one at 10 p.m. ET. It’s probably also the most meaningless game on the slate, but, hey, it’s all about finding NHL betting value.

New York goes for the season sweep as it beat the visiting Canucks on Nov. 26 – back when the Blueshirts were actually considered playoff contenders – 4-3 in a shootout. Jimmy Vesey scored the tying goal at 5:05 of the third period and added the winner in the seventh round of a shootout. He was deservedly named the No. 1 star. Michael Grabner (more on him shortly) and Jesper Fast had the other New York goals, with Henrik Lundqvist stopping 29 shots. Loui Eriksson, Jake Virtanen and Sam Gagner had the Vancouver goals, with Jacob Markstrom facing just 20 shots. The Canucks blew a 2-0 second-period lead.

The Rangers have won eight of the past 11 meetings in this series.

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Time To Look Toward 2018-19

You can’t guarantee much in the sports world, but it’s a lock that the Rangers will dump Coach Alain Vigneault this offseason because they sit last in the Metropolitan Division, are going to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2010 and have shifted gears to a youth movement.

No team was more active a seller at (or ahead of) Monday’s trade deadline than the Rangers, who have lost six straight games, totaling just 13 goals in them. Gone are veterans Rick Nash, Nick Holden, Grabner, Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller. Nash and Holden were sent to Boston, Grabner to New Jersey (first-ever trade between the franchises), and McDonagh and Miller to Tampa Bay. Most agree the Rangers did well in those deals, led by landing 25-year-old forward Vladislav Namestnikov from Tampa Bay and 26-year-old center Ryan Spooner from Boston – along with some prospects and draft picks.

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ICYMI: Exclusive 🎥 with #NYR GM Jeff Gorton https://t.co/x3iDWjnyoO

— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) February 27, 2018
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But there’s no question the team is worse right now – Miller was second on the team with 40 points, Grabner led the Blueshirts with 25 goals, Nash had 18 goals, and McDonagh was a top-four defenseman, All-Star in 2016 & ’17 and had 26 points and a plus-7 rating this season. Spooner debuted for the Rangers on Sunday in a 3-2 home overtime loss to Detroit and had two assists. Namestnikov, who had 20 goals and 24 assists with the Lightning this season, presumably will debut Wednesday as that deal went down Monday. Grabner was traded last week.

Vancouver also is looking toward 2018-19 already as the Canucks dealt veteran forward Thomas Vanek to Columbus on Monday for veteran winger Jussi Jokinen and 22-year-old center Tyler Motte. Vanek was third on the Canucks with 41 points but was set for free agency this summer. Jokinen isn’t worth much but Motte still has potential.

The Canucks return home from a three-game road trip in which they were 1-2. Vancouver could again be without Eriksson as he sat Monday with an upper-body injury. He has 10 goals and 13 assists in 50 games this season.

Lot of offense missing from both sides due to trades/injuries, and this is simply one of those games where you should bet the home team. The Rangers are likely to be flat for a while after losing so many key guys and quitting on the season. They also have won just nine of their past 32 road games.

I’d parlay the Canucks and the ‘under’ for a Wednesday NHL pick. The ‘under’ has hit in six of the Rangers’ past eight and in four of the Canucks’ past five vs. teams with a losing record.

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