Pick 'Under' in Closely-Contested Clash: Islanders vs. Rangers

David Lawrence

Tuesday, January 13, 2015 12:57 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015 12:57 PM GMT

The Rangers are on fire these days with wins in 13 of their last 14 games. Now they’ll face an important test on Tuesday as they get a visit from the New York Islanders, who are the first-place team in the Metropolitan division. The Rangers are a home favorite according to the NHL betting lines.

The New York Islanders Can Win Because…
This will be the Rangers first game home after a long road trip. Usually, teams coming home after a road trip are a little flat-footed in their first game back. The Rangers trip took them out to the West Coast as they played in Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose, and now they’re back up in the Northeast.

The Rangers have a strong goaltender but the Isles might finally be able to match their cross-town rivals between the pipes. Jaroslav Halak has played like a Vezina Trophy candidate this season and has a great track record against the Rangers. He’s won three straight and five of six against the Rangers while posting a 1.67 GAA.

 

The New York Rangers Can Win Because…
They’re playing as well as they have in about 40 years. Yes, that’s right. The Rangers haven’t had a stretch of hockey this good since 1973. They enter Tuesday’s contest having won five straight while outscoring opponents 22-8 in the process.

The Rangers tend to go as Henrik Lundqvist is going and right now, he’s about as good as it gets in the NHL. In his last 12 outings, he’s won 11 times while posting a 1.57 GAA in the process.

The Isles could be worn down for this matchup as this will be their last game on a six-game road trip. We know that teams sometimes are a little fatigued in that last stop, which you should consider as you look over the NHL odds given it’s hard to know what to expect from them.

 

Outlook

Without question, this is the most significant meeting between the teams in years. Both of these squads are playing very well right now and there’s far more on the line than usual. Only five points separate the two teams in the Eastern Conference standings. It’s a tricky betting line as the Rangers are laying -140, which is a fair price given how they’ve been playing, but their first game home after a road trip and this being the Isles last game on a road trip means we’re not sure if fatigue will factor for one or both teams.

It’s hard to pick a side but with both goaltenders playing well, under is the way I’m going to go. King Henrik plays pretty well against the Isles, going 29-13-5 with a 2.15 GAA and a .922 save percentage. And Halak also plays well against the Rangers, as mentioned above. There should be a playoff-type atmosphere in this one as neither team wants to give ground, so look for this to be a closely-contested, conservative game. Go under with your NHL picks.

NHL Pick: Under 5.5 at 5Dimes

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