Playoffs at the Most Famous Arena in the World
The Rangers will host the Penguins on Wednesday at Madison Square Garden with the opening face-off slated for 7:35 PM ET. This will be Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals in which the Penguins lead 2-1. According to NHL betting odds Pittsburgh is a -105 money line road favorite and the posted total is 5.0. The Penguins have gone 12-4 in their last 16-games versus the Rangers. These teams have seen just 2 of their last 11-games at Madison Square Garden go under the total.
Silencing the Critics
Marc-Andre Fleury has received a plethora of criticism over the last couple of years for his erratic play during the playoffs. Despite finishing 2nd overall in the Eastern Conference there were very few experts that were predicting the Penguins to be a serious Stanley Cup threat, with the majority of reasons revolving around the lack of confidence in Fleury. After losing the opening game of the series 3-2 in overtime, the Penguins have responded with 2 consecutive shutout wins. Fleury was the star of the show stopping all 57 Rangers shots on net in those 2 wins. Fleury has an excellent .967 save percentage in the first 3-games of this playoff series versus the Rangers.
"Sid the Kid" Shoots and Scores
However, despite the recent low scoring trends, the Penguins have gone over the total in 9 of 10 playoff games during the last 2 years when they have the lead in a series. An encouraging sign for the Penguins was the fact that Sidney Crosby scored a goal in the 2-0 win during Game 3. It was Crosby's 1st postseason in his last 13 playoff games.
Playoff Scheduling Quirk for the Rangers
If the Rangers chose to complain about their demanding recent schedule, quite frankly they would have a legitimate beef. Starting with Game 6 of their series versus the Flyers, after tonight the Rangers would have played 6-games in 9-days, which is unprecedented in the modern era of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It's improbable you will hear anything in that regard from the Rangers dressing room as long as they're still participating in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The old adage during the NHL Playoffs is that opponents aren't going to feel sorry for you, so regardless of the circumstances suck it up, and put in your best effort. I will predict, if they fail to win this series, you will hear some backlash from the organization directed at the NHL for being put in such an unfavorable position.
Inside the Rangers Numbers
Despite losing Game 3 of the series, and squandering home ice advantage, the Rangers can take solace in knowing they're an outstanding 30-12 the last 3 seasons following a home loss. It's not like the Rangers were horrible in the 2-0 loss on Monday. After all, they outshot the Penguins by a wide 35-15 margin. The Rangers have gone over the total in 16 of 21-games the last 3 seasons following 2 consecutive losses.
NHL Betting System
Any road team with a total of 5.0 or less that's playing in the 2nd half of the season, and won their previous 2-games, while also having a money line win percentage of .600 to .700, versus an opponent who has a winning percentage of .510 to .600, has seen 69 of those 105-games (65.7%) go over the total during the last 18 seasons.
Free Pick: Penguins/Rangers to go over the total of 5.0