The NY Rangers look to bounce-back into winning form at the expense of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and actually, somewhat surprisingly, the NHL odds are tipped in their favor. If, ever so slightly. As per multiple top sportsbooks, the Rangers enter the game as the faves, priced anywhere between -118 to -128 to win depending on the book in question. The Penguins, meanwhile, are priced as the underdogs with odds ranging from +100 to +110.
In all fairness, it’s a relatively tight NHL betting market with only a nominal advantage and disadvantage given to either team. Thus, it’s a wide open game that could fall on either side of the betting coin.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers
Tuesday, April 6, 2021, 7:00 PM ET – Madison Square Garden
Pittsburgh Flying High And In Form
The Penguins are flying high in third place in the East division’s standings, sporting a 24-12-2 mark on the season and 50 points. They’re merely four points behind the Washington Capitals (first place) and two points behind the New York Islanders (second place).
It’s safe to say that the Penguins have been a bit of a surprise this season, playing above preseason expectations that were modest, to say the least. And now, with the season winding down, sportsbooks across the NHL odds board give Pittsburgh a genuine stake in the playoffs and, even, potentially in the race for the Stanley Cup.
Most recently, the Pittsburgh Penguins suffered a setback. They’re coming off a two-game road stretch in Boston that resulted in a split series (1-1). In the latest game at the weekend was a right cracker, even though the Penguins came out on the losing end, they defeated 7-5 by the Bruins after winning the first game of the two-game set in Boston 4-1.
It marked the first loss by the Penguins in six games, fourth overall in the last 15 games. Form in the last ten games sits on a 6-3-1 mark. That said, it’s interesting to note that only three games were played on the road during this stretch and the Penguins went 1-2 SU in those.
Prior to their latest 7-5 defeat, the Penguins had reeled off five straight wins, sweeping the Sabres and Islanders before splitting the two-game series with the Bruins. Four of those five wins were at home, where the Penguins have played some of their best hockey this season as evinced by their 16-3-1 mark at home.
Rangers On Form Despite Loss
The Rangers are sixth overall in the East division standings with a 17-15-5 mark on the season and 39 points. Despite the wide gulf between them and the higher-ranked Penguins, their current form is on par as both teams are sporting a 6-3-1 record in their last ten games. And it’s that general positive form perhaps that explains why the betting odds might be leaning towards the Rangers ahead of their date with their lofty divisional rivals at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers missed a valuable opportunity at the weekend to sweep the series with the Buffalo Sabres. After winning the first game 3-2, they lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Sabres. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak and marked their third loss in the last eight games.
It’s been a tough spot for the Rangers with six of their last eight games on the road. The last time they were at home, they stunned the Washington Capitals 5-2. Prior to that, they beat the Sabres 5-3 at Madison Square Garden. On the season, the Rangers are 8-6-3 at home and 9-9-2 on the road.
The last time the Rangers and Penguins played it went the way of the latter. The Penguins swept the Rangers by a combined 9-3 score at the PPG Paint Arena in Pittsburgh. In six meetings, the Rangers have only beaten the Penguins once when they split the series 1-1 at Madison Square Garden early this season.
NHL Predictions and Picks
By all accounts, this should be a rip-roaring affair between two divisional rivals to spot for NHL picks. Both teams have a lot invested in the outcome of this game and they’re playing well right now, which makes it a right tossup. Then there’s the fact that the season is hurtling towards the finish-line, meaning the premium on winning couldn’t be any greater as the playoffs loom on the horizon.
In the broad context of the division, the Penguins are the so-called “better” team – with the better record and higher standing. However, in this game, the Rangers quite rightly have the betting advantage, even if it is nominal. They’re at home for a matchup against a team that doesn’t play consistently well enough on the road (Penguins are 8-9-1 on the road). Moreover, with the Rangers lagging behind in the standings, they might have the greater motivation to win this game. Of course, that’s easier said than done against the quality Penguins. So, don’t go betting the farm on it.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.