The New York Rangers had been playing pretty well but enter Sunday on a two-game losing streak. Meanwhile, the Devils had been in a funk but enter Sunday on a two-game winning streak. We’ll see which streaks continue when they cross-state rivals get together on Sunday in NBC’s Game of the Week.
Be sure to check out my NHL Picks of the Day article for more free plays.
The New York Rangers Can Win Because…
They’ve been one of the best teams in the NHL over the last month. Sure, they’ve lost back-to-back games but prior to that, had won 11 of 15. The main reason for that is because goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is in the midst of his best month of the year. He had a GAA of 2.84 in October, 2.27 in November, 3.08 in December but is at 1.99 in January. His save percentage (.936) is by far the best this month too. When he’s playing like the Vezina Trophy winner we all know he can be, the Rangers are tough to beat. He’s allowed just 10 goals in his last seven outings and that could be a major problem for a Devils team that has scored the fourth-fewest goals in the NHL.
The Rangers have had most of their success this season against teams with a losing record. They are 16-10 against sub-.500 teams and that’s good news as the Devils fit that mold. As long as Lundqvist leads the way, they should be able to get the job done here.
The New Jersey Devils Can Win Because….
They’ve had the Rangers number this year. They’ve won all three meetings between the teams while outscoring them 11-5 in the three games. The Devils have scored at least three goals in each meeting and given the type of goaltending they have, they are tough to beat when they get to that number or above.
The Rangers have hit the skids with back-to-back losses to the New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues. Comparatively, the Devils have been great in their last two, topping St. Louis and Washington by a combined score of 9-2. They’re the team that’s playing better right now, they’ve own this series this season and they’re an underdog on the NHL odds. Those factors make the Devils the better choice for your NHL picks.
Outlook & Pick
The Devils have won four straight at home and have had the Rangers number this year. However, Lundqvist has not been playing this good when the teams met the other three times. Traditionally, he plays pretty good against the Devils, going 28-14-6 with a 1.89 GAA and a .932 save percentage. That’s his fourth-best GAA and fifth-best save percentage against any team that he’s face.
I trust the Rangers a little bit more in this spot 15-10 on the road while the Devils are just 12-12 at home. It’s a little bit of juice to give up but worth the price tag as I see the Rangers coming through for our NHL picks.
Pick: Rangers -118 at 5Dimes