NHL Picks: Bet Rangers +108 to Build Momentum vs. Panthers

Bruce Webster

Saturday, January 2, 2016 4:40 PM GMT

The New York Rangers come in off a solid 5-2 road win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, while the Florida Panthers have now won seven games in a row, who will be our free NHL pick tonight?

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NHL Pick: Rangers +108
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Rangers End Road Skid with Win in Tampa Bay
The New York Rangers got off to a fast start this year, but they have really been scuffling of late, especially on the road, where they had lost eight in a row prior to their road day with Tampa Bay, which they won 5-2. The Rangers are now 7-11 on the road, compared to 14-6 at home. The game was tied at two apiece heading into the third period before Dominic Moore scored his 4th goal of the year to put them ahead for good. The Rangers got empty netters from Viktor Stalberg (4th) and Rick Nash (12th) to close out the scoring in the game. Dan Boyle had a solid game as well with a goal and an assist, while Stalberg and Moore also added assists with their goals.

Coming up with a solid effort in goal was Henrik Lundqvist, who had been struggling of late. He stopped 20 Lightning shots to improve his record to 17-13 with a 2.49 GAA on the year. He should get the start in this game as well and is 6-9 with a 2.77 GAA on the road, while posting a 21-10 mark with a 1.87 GAA in his career vs the Panthers. The Rangers have been a very good offensive team this year as they come in ranked 4th in scoring, putting up 2.9 gpg, while converting on 20.8% of their power play conversions, which is 7th. On defense they started out very well, but now they are mediocre at best, ranking 15th in goals allowed (2.6 gpg) and 15th in penalty kill.

 

Panthers Top Habs, Push Win Streak to Seven
The Florida Panthers come in playing arguably the best hockey in the league right now as they have won their last seven games, following their 3-1 win over Montreal on Tuesday night. The play in the crease has really been the key for this team of late as they have allowed a total 10 goals in the seven games, with four of those coming in one game. They got another strong performance from Roberto Luongo in the win over the Habs as he stopped 29 shots for his 6th win in a row. Luongo should get the start here as well and is now 16-12 with a 2.16 GAA on the year, including 10-7 with a 2.25 GAA at home, while he is 7-16 with a 3.02 GAA vs the Rangers in his career.

Aleksander Barkov led the charge vs the Habs with two goals and an assist, while Jaromir Jagr got the game winner with his 11th goal of the year. Barkov’s goals also put him at 11 for the year and that ties both him and Jagr with Reilly Smith for the team lead in scoring. Leading the assist parade is Jonathan Huberdeau, who now has 21 after notching two vs the Habs. Florida has scored 25 goals during their win streak, but still they are very average at that end of the ice, ranking 17th in scoring at 2.6 gpg and 19th in power play conversions at 17.8%. On defense is where this team has really excelled this year as they rank 3rd in goals allowed, giving up just 2.2 gpg and 16th in penalty kill (80%).    

 

Trends
New York is:

49-23 in their last 72 after allowing two goals or less in their previous game

39-19 in their last 58 when their opponent allows two goals or less in their previous game

Florida is:

16-38 in their last 54 Saturday games

5-16 their last 21 in the series

 

Betting Analysis
The Panthers have won seven in a row, while the Rangers are slumping, but still I will call for the shocker here. New York is still a solid team and the Panthers have really done most of their damage vs losing or badly slumping teams on this streak. Luongo has terrible numbers vs the Rangers in his career, while Lundqvist has very strong numbers vs the Panthers in his career. All good things must come to an end and Florida will find that out after this one is over. Take the Rangers as the NHL pick against the NHL odds tonight.