Our NHL consultant breaks down Game 5 of the playoff series between the Penguins and Rangers on Friday. His insightful betting preview article closes with a money line selection on this game.
Rangers go for Series Clincher on Friday
The New York Rangers will host the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series on Friday at 7:05 PM ET. According to the NHL betting odds at Bookmaker, the Rangers are a -190 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.0. The Rangers currently hold a 3-1 series lead, and with a win will advance to the conference semifinals for the second consecutive season.
The Pittsburgh Penguins returned home for Game 3 of this series feeling pretty good about their chances. After all, they had just defeated the Rangers 4-3 in Game 2 to tie the series at 1-1, and gained home ice advantage by doing so. However, the momentum they established was quickly dissipated by a pair of 2-1 home losses, and they now find themselves on the brink of elimination from the playoffs.
The Penguins continue to struggle in the goal scoring department, and that’s been extremely puzzling considering the offensive firepower on this roster. Pittsburgh has scored two goals or less in five of the last six, and fifteen of their previous twenty-two games overall. They’ve also gone over the total in only six of those previous twenty-two games.
Marc-Andre Fleury has been a much maligned goaltender for the Penguins in past playoff years. That’s not been the case in 2015. Fleury has posted a solid .921 save percentage in the first four games of this series.
The Rangers showed that their excellent road record during the regular season was no fluke in Games 3 and 4. Following their two wins in Pittsburgh, they’re now a terrific 30-13 on the road during this 2014-2015 NHL campaign. After starting the season at 7-11, the Rangers have now gone a terrific 49-19 in their last sixty-eight games. Henrik Lundquist has been terrific in the three Rangers wins in this series, allowing only a combined three goals, and compiling a superb .958 save percentage.
The Rangers haven’t exactly lit the scoreboard up in the four games versus their Metropolitan Division rival. They’ve scored just a combined nine goals, and have amassed 26 shots on goal or less in each of the last three contests. On a positive note, they’ve allowed only a combined seven goals, and have held the Penguins to 25 shots on goal or less in all four games.
NHL Totals Angle
Any team (Rangers) coming off two straight wins by one goal each, versus an opponent (Penguins) coming off two straight games in which there was a combined three goals or less scored in each, resulted in that team going under the total in 59 of those 87-games (67.8%) since 1996. With all things being considered, and with this successful betting angle added to the equation, I’m leaning strongly toward a low scoring game for one of my NHL picks on Friday.
NHL Picks: Penguins and Rangers to go under the total of 5.0 at Bookmaker.