"Blue Shirts" on the Brink
The Penguins host the Rangers on Friday at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with the opening face-off slated for 7:05 PM ET. This will be Game 5 of their Eastern Conference series in which Pittsburgh leads 3-1. According to NHL betting odds Pittsburgh is a -175 money line favorite and the posted total is 5.0. The Penguins have won 13 of the last 17 meetings between these clubs. The teams have seen just 2 of their last 8 meetings go under the total.
Read David Lawrence's Game 5 Rangers vs. Penguins NHL Pick
Weary and on the Brink of Elimination
The NHL certainly hasn't done the Rangers any favors this postseason in terms of scheduling. Tonight will be their 7th playoff game in the last 10 days which is unprecedented in the Stanley Cup modern era. It's not a huge surprise that "The Blue Shirts" have lacked the type of energy level necessary to compete at a high level while losing the last 3-games of this series. The Rangers have also struggled offensively recently scoring 2-goals or less in 5 of their last 6-games. On a more positive note, they've gone a more than respectable 27-19 on the road this season. Even more encouraging is the fact that the Rangers have gone a perfect 10-0 on the road this season following a home loss in their previous game.
Penguins Going for the Jugular
The Penguins have gone 7-3 during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs with all 3 of those losses occurring in overtime. They've been dominant in winning Games 2 through 4 in this series outscoring the Rangers by a combined 9-2. Marc-Andre has been extremely sharp for the Penguins over the last 3-games, allowing just 2 goals, and posting an excellent .972 save percentage. When Fleury is on his game, the Penguins can be a shade below unbeatable. Pittsburgh has gone over the total in 10 of 11 playoff games when they have a lead in a series. Pittsburgh is 17-3 this season following 2 straight road games.
It would be hard to fathom the Rangers getting their second win at this point. The Penguins are a very confident bunch right now, and their biggest playoff enigma Marc-Andre Fleury is red-hot right now. I hate laying this kind of juice with my hockey picks, but there's always an exception to the rule.
Free Pick: Penguins -175 over the Rangers