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The Pittsburgh Penguins face the New York Rangers for the third time in six days with both teams fighting for playoff position. The Penguins have a 34-24-10 record and hold the top wild card spot in the Eastern Conference but have lost back-to-back games. The Rangers have a 39-19-10 record and with back-to-back wins have the third-best record in the Metropolitan Division. Both teams are looking to improve in the Eastern Conference and secure playoff spots and the upcoming game looks to be a great one as a result.
Penguins have been led by great offenseThe Penguins are having a great season with their offense carrying them, scoring 3.26 goals per game. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Jake Guentzel have scored 83 goals and 134 assists to lead the top two lines but the rest of the offense has also stepped up. Rickard Rakell, Jason Zucker, and Bryan Rust have combined for 63 goals and 66 assists while defenseman Kris Letang has added 10 goals and 24 assists from the point to help open up the offense.
The offense has been great but the defense has struggled, allowing 3.22 goals per game with 10 goals in the last two games. Marcus Pettersson and Brian Dumoulin have combined for 5.8 defensive point shares but the rest of the unit has struggled, allowing opponents to find open shots on the net with ease. The bright spot has been the play of goaltender Tristan Jarry who has a .910 save percentage and a 2.96 goals-against average on 1139 shots with 5.5 goals saved above average.
Rangers have been great on both ends of the iceThe Rangers are having a great season with their offense stepping up and scoring 3.26 goals per game including nine goals in the last two games. Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Vincent Trocheck have scored 74 goals and 127 assists to lead the top two lines but the entire offense has stepped up. Chris Kreider, Filip Chytil, and Alexis Lafreniere have combined for 63 goals and 53 assists while defensemen Adam Fox and K'Andre Miller have added 16 goals and 77 assists from the point to put the offense over the top.
The offense has been great but the defense has also stepped up, allowing only 2.78 goals per game with only five goals in the last two games. Fox and Miller have combined for 8.6 defensive point shares and 184 blocked shots while Braden Schneider and Jacob Trouba have combined for 6.0 defensive point shares to add depth to the unit. In addition, goaltender Igor Shesterkin has been great with a .910 save percentage and a 2.63 goals-against average on 1438 shots with 8.0 goals saved above average.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This is going to be a great game between two of the best teams in the Metropolitan Division. The Penguins look to pull off the upset but the Rangers, who have won two games in a row, look to control this game. The Rangers, who average 3.26 goals per game, should pile on the goals against a Penguins defense that allows 3.22 goals per game with Mika Zibanejad, Artemi Panarin, and the rest of the forward unit carrying the puck into the offensive zone and creating open shots with quick passes. The Rangers, who allow only 2.78 goals per game, should limit the Penguins' offense with Adam Fox, K'Andre Miller, and the rest of the defensive unit creating turnovers in the defensive zone and limiting shots on the net, allowing goaltender Igor Shesterkin to make plenty of big saves. The Rangers should win the game with a strong performance on their home ice to extend their winning streak to three games.
Take the Rangers money line as home Favorites.
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Full-Game Total Pick
This is a high total and it's easy to think that the upcoming game will be a low-scoring one with both defenses stepping up. However, both the Penguins and Rangers have great offenses that look to find the back of the net throughout the game. The Penguins, who average 3.26 goals per game, should constantly find the back of the net with Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, and the rest of the forward unit carrying the puck into the offensive zone and creating open shots with great puck movement. The Rangers, who have scored nine goals in the last two games, should run up the score against the Penguins, who allow 10 goals in the last two games, with Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Vincent Trocheck, and the rest of the forward unit crashing the net on the rush and creating open shots with great puck movement while Adam Fox and K'Andre Miller generate shots on the net from the blue line. The Over should cover in a high-scoring game controlled by both offenses.
Take the Over on 6.5 goals.