Free NHL Picks: Take Penguins To Stay Hot Over The Rangers

Dana Lane

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 3:01 PM GMT

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016 3:01 PM GMT

The Pittsburgh Penguins (27-18-7 61pts) will continue to move toward my top ten by cashing my NHL picks on them over the eighth ranked New York Rangers (30-18-5 65pts).

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Free NHL Pick: Pittsburgh -135
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

 

Recent Trends & History
Plain and simple, Sidney Crosby's game is at another level right now and that spells trouble for the Eastern Conference. The Penguins are still not in my top 10 but they are sitting at eleven waiting to bust through. I still have them in back of San Jose at #10 mostly because I want to see them be more than a .500 team on the road. Since the recent emergence of Sidney Crosby, the Penguins have won six of seven games.

In just five days, Crosby has gone from ninth in the league in scoring to fifth. Phenomenal considering on December 12th he had only 18 points in 28 games. That was also the day Mike Sullivan took the head coaching job away from Mike Johnston. Since, Crosby has 34 points in 23 games.

They now come out of the dressing room looking confident which has reflected well on their recent first period efforts. Pittsburgh appears motivated and driven. I also believe Crosby's ego was bruised a bit after not being selected to this year's All Star Game. Since the break he has 12 points in four games. Crosby's 15 goals are the most since January 1st. He will bring a nine goal streak at Consol Energy Center into the game.

 

Game Overview
The Penguins are so efficient offensively that they ran All-Star goaltender, John Gibson, out of the game vs. Anaheim. The Penguins six goals were the most allowed by the Ducks this season. Pittsburgh is extremely good at moving the puck and are at the top of the league as far as their ability to tilt the ice. There isn't a team in the league that puts more pressure on opposing goaltenders than Pittsburgh. If the Rangers appear to be a step slow, then this game will end early. Surprising enough, the Penguins are doing this without Egveni Malkin who will miss the rest of the week with a lower body injury

Most teams rely on offensive depth to be effective as the season rolls along, but in the Penguins case, they must have production from their stars because most of their depth is banged up, especially at the center spot where Malkin and Nick Bonino are out. Bonino isn't expected back until Sunday or Monday at the earliest.

The emergence of Phil Kessel would help the Penguins even more. It seems he has always been trying to find his place in Pittsburgh. Now his place is on the second line. So much has been made of their offensive ability but Defensemen Kris Letang is one of the best in the league in from of goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury. His influence has turned Olli Maata in a solid defensive pairing. 

If Pittsburgh didn't already have enough speed, the recent addition of Carl Hagelin gives them more.

The Rangers have now lost 13 of their last seventeen road games, while Pittsburgh have historically been great against poor road teams. In their last 62 games against with a road win percentage under .400, the Penguins are 46-16 which is just under 75%.

We're backing Pittsburgh with our NHL picks in this one, where they are favorites in the NHL odds boards.

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