Free NHL Pick: Penguins Filled With Energy & Power Over Rangers

Mark Lathrop

Friday, April 22, 2016 7:00 PM UTC

Friday, Apr. 22, 2016 7:00 PM UTC

Pittsburgh has dominated the series so far. Our experienced handicapper looks to the total for a better payout for this Saturday afternoon NHL Pick.

N.Y. Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins took full control of this series on Thursday night, as they blanked the New York Rangers, 5-0, in route to a 3-1 series lead. The Penguins won as -115 moneyline road favorites, while the O/U of 5 pushed the consensus total listed. After this dominant performance and a switch to their home ice, the Penguins are now favored at -180 on the moneyline at BetOnline. The O/U total has stayed at 5; however, it has shifted to a large over lean. The Over can be found as juiced up as -140 at BookMaker.

Penguins goaltender, Matt Murray, replaced Jeff Zatkoff in game 3 of this series and performed admirably, only seeing 17 shots on goal. In this more dominant performance, Murray stopped all 31 shots that came his way to shut out the Rangers at home. Murray only had one shutout in his 12 regular season starts, and of course this is his first in the postseason.

The Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin, who was back at center in game 3 after getting reintroduced into the lineup as a winger in game 2, had himself one hell of a game. Malkin scored the final two goals for the Penguins and assisted on the first two to accrue 4 points on the game. Eric Fehr, Patric Hornqvist, and Conor Sheary scored the other three goals for the Penguins.

The Pittsburgh special teams continued to excel in game 4, as they converted on 3 of 6 power play chances. They are an incredible 7-19 on power plays in the series for a strong 36.8% conversion rate. The Rangers are just 1 of 16 on their power play chances in the series, which will get you down 3-1 very quickly.

The Penguins have now taken 6 of 7 from the Rangers since early March, and you have to believe that doubt is creeping in on New York at this point. They were completely dominated in this game, a game that they should have been absolutely desperate to win. Even their real advantage, goalie Henrik Lundqvist, gave up 4 goals on just 18 shots by early in the 2nd period. Lundqvist should be fresh for game 5 as he was pulled for Antti Raanta for the rest of the game after he proved to be ineffective. Hard to fault a goalie though when his penalty kill efforts from the rest of the team are going so poorly.


Betting Analysis
The Penguins got bounced last year by the Rangers in the postseason, so again, they will not take this team lightly. I do not expect that they will let up in game 5, and neither does the betting public. The -180 moneyline NHL odds on the Penguins is quite steep for my taste, so I am taking a different route for this game and taking the Over.

Games 1 and 2 on Pittsburgh’s ice went over the totals with 5-2 and 4-2 scores, respectively. And if the Rangers play as aggressive as they should, penalty minutes and power play chances could abound for the Penguins. The over is also 23-13 in Pittsburgh home games over the entire season and 20-14 for the Rangers on the road. The Penguins should win, but the value here is taking the Over 5 at -135 at Heritage  as your Saturday NHL picks.   

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Free NHL Pick: Over 5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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