NHL Picks: Rangers to End Jets' Hopes to Win a Playoff Spot Tonight

Joe Catalano

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 2:54 PM GMT

At 90 points in the tough NHL Western Conference, the Winnipeg Jets are holding on for dear life, in possession of a playoff spot. In their way tonight is one of the toughest teams in NHL in the New York Rangers. 

Face-off is set for 8:00 p.m. ET tonight at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The NHL betting odds at BetOnline list the Rangers as a -114 betting favorites and the total for the game is listed at 5.5 goals.

 

A Goalie Dilemma?
You would think that having two top notch goalies in Cam Talbot and the legendary Henrik Lundqvist would be a major luxury. Instead, it has caused a major controversy as Talbot played so well and now the Rangers have lost 2 games in a row.

A player like Lundqvist shouldn't have to be worried about losing a game because he's been dominant for a decade. On the other hand, the Rangers have been sitting on 101 points for a while and don't want to lose their momentum as they want a return trip to the Stanley Cup. Immediate gratification is always tempting but in this case, I say a team must show loyalty to Henrik the King Lundqvist. To even question this is absurd.

We look to see who will be starting in net for the Rangers and there's no confirmation as of yet. Of course this was expected. Quite frankly, I don't know who will be in goal for the Rangers, but if I had to venture a guess, it would be Lundqvist.

As for the Jets, Ondrej Palevec is the likely candidate Palevec has been a sub .500 goalie for his career and hasn't had a great season, but he is 6-2 with a 1.51 GAA in the month of March and the Jets need a kind of points in this game. This will be a tall order for Winnipeg, but they're catching the Rangers at the perfect time.

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Rangers Recap
The Rangers are coming off of a tough 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals. In this game, Alex Ovechkin notched his 48th and 49th goals of the season. There are no Ovechkin's in this game and the Rangers must get a good game from leading scorer, Rick Nash, who has been putting consistent pressure on the opposing defense with a regular 4 shots on goal per game. Nash has 40 goals himself and can definitely be the difference against weak goaltending for the host Jets.

The Rangers are 3rd in goals scored in the NHL at 3 goals per game and also 3rd in goals allowed at 2.3 goals per game.

Another key player to look at for on New York is center Derick Brassard. He leads the Rangers in assists (39) and is coming off  a strong game against Washington in which he potted one behind Washington goaltender Braden Holtby.

 

Dustin Byfuglien
Winnipeg is coming off of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, but one encouraging thing came out of that game and that was the play of defenseman Dustin Byfuglien.

Byfuglien scored 2 goals and it was the 2nd consecutive game in which he has scored a goal. At 18 points and 27 assists, Byfuglien is certainly more than a one way player and he can mix it up if need be.

This is a tough call because I want to know who will be in net for the Rangers. That said, New York is the much better team and at these odds, they are the only NHL pick to consider.

NHL Pick: Rangers -114 at BetOnline

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