Ebb and Flow of a Series
The Penguins host the Rangers on Tuesday at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with the opening face-off slated for 7:05 PM ET. This will be Game 7 of this playoff series with the winner advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals. According to NHL betting odds Pittsburgh is a -165 money line home favorite and the posted total is 5.0.The Penguins are 19-8 in their last 27 home games versus the Rangers.
Rangers Getting a Second Win
After having to endure a brutal playoff scheduling quirk that sapped some of their energy, the Rangers have been reinvigorated in the last 2-games. "The Blue Shirts" are now a perfect 3-0 in elimination games during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They seemed to have one foot in the grave following home losses in Games 3 and 4 of this series which put them in an unenviable 3-games to 1 hole. They've since won the last 2-games by outscoring the Penguins by a cumulative score of 8-2. This will be the 2nd consecutive series the Rangers have gone the full 7-games. They defeated the Flyers in their first go around, but the deciding 7th game in that series was played at home. However, the Rangers were one of the better road teams in the NHL this season going 28-19. They also can be confident with the factor that Henrik Lundquist has been razor sharp over the last 2-games. He's posted a terrific .971 save percentage in the Game 5 and 6 wins.
Needing to Close the Deal
For the 3rd consecutive game the Penguins will attempt to eliminate the Rangers, and punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2nd straight year. The difference being this time they will have no more room for error, as a loss will prematurely end their season, and after holding a 3-1 lead in the series, would certainly be a very bitter pill to swallow. The Penguins should be confident in knowing they've been absolutely dominant on home ice the past few seasons, despite the fact they've dropped 2-games in this series at the Consol Energy Center. They will also be hoping that Marc-Andre Fleury regains the form he displayed in the first 11-games of this postseason. Fleury has been shaky in the last 2-games allowing 7-goals, and posted a subpar .889 save percentage. They also need to get their power play back in order. After being one of the best teams with the man advantage in the NHL during the regular season, they've gone just 1 for 15 over their last 5-games.
I look for this to be a low scoring and tense deciding Game 7. Henrik Lundquist is red-hot right now, and the Rangers are likely to play tight to the vest throughout. Marc-Andre Fleury isn't likely to face an enormous amount of shots, and despite regressing in the last 2-games, he's played well in the big picture during the postseason. I recommend readers to place their pick under the total of 5.0 for this affair.
Free Pick: Rangers/Penguins to go under the total of 5.0.