We’re going to examine Game 2 of the NHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinal playoff series between the Penguins and Rangers. Can the Rangers continue their recent domination of Pittsburgh and take a commanding 2-0 lead in this series?
Penguins and Rangers Game 2 at MSG in New York
The Rangers will host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday at 8:05 PM ET at Madison Square Garden in New York. It will be Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series in which the Rangers hold a 1-0 lead, by virtue of a 2-1 win in Thursday’s series opener. According to the NHL betting odds at Heritage, the Rangers are a -174 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.0. Heritage also lists the Rangers at -1.5 (+165) and Pittsburgh +1.5 (-180) on the puck-line. The Rangers have gone a dominating 7-1 in their last eight games versus Pittsburgh. These teams have seen five of their last seven encounters stay under the total.
Penguins Slumping at Wrong Time
The Pittsburgh Penguins will enter Game 2 of this series having lost six of the last seven, and twelve of their previous sixteen games. The Penguins are just 2-8 against the money line in their previous ten games on the road. Those two wins came versus Arizona and Buffalo, and they were the bottom teams in the NHL overall standings during the 2014-2015 NHL campaign. If you are searching for a main reason why they’ve struggled so badly over the last four weeks, I’ll save you some time. Pittsburgh has scored two goals or less in thirteen of their last nineteen games, and has topped the three goal barrier on just one occasion during that time frame.
Happy but not Satisfied
I’m sure if you asked the Rangers to a man, they’re happy with the series opening win over Pittsburgh, but weren’t satisfied with their overall performance. “The Blue Shirts” came out flying in the opening period on Thursday, jumped out to a 2-0 lead, and held a decisive 13-5 shots on goal advantage. However, they were outscored 1-0 the rest of the way, and you can make an argument that Pittsburgh outplayed them in the final two periods. Summing things up, this wasn’t the best performance this season by the President’s Trophy winner, but they’ve gone a superb 47-18 in their last sixty-five games.
The scary thing for the Penguins is that the Rangers weren’t at their best on Thursday, and they failed to take advantage. I look for the Rangers to put together a complete effort on Saturday night and win Game 2 in emphatic fashion. My NHL picks on Saturday will be reflective of that prediction.
NHL Pick: Rangers -1.5 (+165) on the puck-line over the Penguins at Heritage.