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Penguins Rangers Betting Predictions – Penguins, Rangers Renew Rivalry On Thursday Night Hockey

Posted by Don Melrose on 1/29/2013 5:59:56 PM

With four of the five Atlantic division teams finishing in the top-eight of the Eastern Conference last season, the intensity always seemed to ratchet up when these rivals clashed. The New York Rangers finished with the best record in the conference, but eventually lost to the New Jersey Devils in the conference finals, only after the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers had nothing left in the tank following their first-round playoff series. With all four teams expected to contend again this season the stakes will be just as high, with another key rivalry game Thursday as the Rangers host the Penguins.

Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Rangers
Thursday January 31, 2013 – 7:00 PM ET
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
NHL Sportsbook Line: Rangers – 120

Neither team has started out of the gate as fast as expected this season, and part of that might be the early toll of important division games. Pittsburgh players admitted after consecutive losses that they seemed to lack the same energy they showed in their season opening win against the Flyers, while the Rangers have struggled to remain consistent.

NHL Betting Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins

A top-10 powerplay and top-10 penalty kill is something head coach Dan Bylsma can be pleased with early on, but he still needs to see his team play a more complete game at even strength. With a healthy Sidney Crosby and the tandem of Evgeni Malkin and James Neal leading the best second line in the game, the Penguins are as dangerous as any team in the NHL on offense, but it is at the defensive end where they need to tighten up. Pittsburgh gave up far too many chances in their loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs but bounced back with a much better effort in a 2-1 shootout win over the Ottawa Senators, a sports betting contest in which it at least appears as though Marc-Andre Fleury solidified himself as the team’s No. 1 goaltender.

NHL Betting Preview: New York Rangers

The Rangers’ struggles have been similar to that of the Penguins, as they rank 21st in the NHL in goals allowed early on with Henrik Lundqvist’s goals against average at 3.14. New York boasted its offensive firepower with the addition of Rick Nash in the offseason to add to a core that already includes Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards, but the key to this team’s success the past two years has been its ability to shut down online betting opponents and that has not happened early on. While the top scorers Gaborik, Richards, and Nash are a combined plus-15, the bottom two lines have struggled at both ends of the ice and need to tighten up with Pittsburgh in town.

NHL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

Whatever is wrong with Lundqvist, the Rangers don’t have much time for him to figure things out, especially with Crosby, Malkin and company in town this Thursday. The Penguins have the ability to put up big offensive numbers, and it won’t matter how many goals Nash and company score for New York if they can’t at least slow Pittsburgh down.

NHL Betting Pick: Pittsburgh Penguins



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