Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#87 Pittsburgh Penguins vs.
#88 N.Y. Rangers
Sunday, May 15, 2022 at 7:00pm EDT
Madison Square Garden, New York
Written by Chris King

A pair of teams from the Metropolitan Division take the ice for the conclusion of their first-round series in the Big Apple. The Pittsburgh Penguins are on the road as they face the New York Rangers in a winner-take-all Game 7 of their best-of-seven series Sunday night. In Game 1 of the series, Pittsburgh survived losing their goaltender and one of their forwards to earn a 4-3, triple-overtime victory to steal home ice advantage. The Rangers answered with a 5-2 win in Game 2 before the Penguins took a commanding 3-1 series lead by winning Game 3 7-4 and Game 4 7-2 at home. New York extended the series with a 5-3 win at home in Game 5 Wednesday night. The Rangers then went on the road and won 5-3 in Game 6 Friday night to force this decisive Game 7. Which team advances to the second round and who heads to the golf course?

Pittsburgh Penguins Trying to Reverse Recent Misfortune

Pittsburgh held a 3-1 stranglehold in this series after scoring a combined 14 goals in their two home wins in Games 3 and 4. The Penguins have stumbled since that point, losing two straight games to even things up: they now have to go on the road and win in order to advance. Pittsburgh is 2nd in scoring in the postseason as they average 4.33 goals per game on the season. The Penguins have been below average in their own end, ranking 13th in goals against by allowing four goals a night. Pittsburgh stands 8th in the league in power play success as they converted 22.2% of their chances with the man advantage. The Penguins are 14th in penalty killing as they successfully navigate 66.7% of their shorthanded situations.

In Game 6 without Sidney Crosby, the Penguins started strong but saw things unravel late to end up with the defeat. The opening period saw Pittsburgh with a 13-12 edge in shots on goal and they led 2-0 after 20 minutes of play. Jeff Carter opened the scoring with his fourth of the postseason at 14:12 off assists from Marcus Pettersson and Kasperi Kapanen. Later in the period, Bryan Rust scored his second of the playoffs at 15:48 with Jake Guentzel drawing the assist on the marker to make it a 2-0 game. In the second period, Pittsburgh was outshot 18-13 and they were outscored 3-1 to even the game at three after 40 minutes of play. The Penguins gave up three straight goals to trail 3-2 before Evgeni Malkin scored his third of the playoffs at 16:36, unassisted, to tie the score. In the third period, Pittsburgh saw the shots even at eight but was outscored 2-0 to wind up on the wrong end of the scoreboard. Louis Domingue made 33 saves for the Penguins, who were outshot 38-34, in the loss. He currently is slated to be back between the pipes here, barring a last-minute change in the availability of Tristan Jarry.

New York Rangers Look to Advance to Second Round

New York found themselves facing elimination both Wednesday and Friday night but managed to prevail in both contests to even the series, forcing this winner-take-all Game 7. The Rangers hope that they can ride the momentum from the last two games to punch their ticket to the second round. New York is above average offensively in the postseason as they average four goals per contest, leaving them 4th in the league in goals per game. The Rangers are a dismal 15th in the league in goals against per game as they give up 4.33 goals a night. New York are above average with the man advantage as they converted 33.3% of their chances on the power play, which is 3rd in the league. The Rangers are average in the penalty killing department as they successfully navigate 77.8% of their shorthanded situations, putting them 9th in the league.

After a slow start, the Rangers got things going and eventually scored the game-winning goal in the closing minutes en route to a victory. The Rangers were outshot 13-12 in the opening period of action and they trailed 2-0 on the scoreboard after 20 minutes of play. In the second period, New York owned an 18-13 advantage in shots on goal and outscored Pittsburgh 3-1 to head to the dressing room at the second intermission tied at three. Mika Zibanejad got the Rangers on the board with his first goal of the playoffs at 5:05, on the power play, off assists from Adam Fox and Ryan Strome. Zibanejad scored his second of the game and the playoffs at 6:21 off assists from Ryan Lindegren and Fox to tie the game at two. Chris Kreider gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead with his third of the playoffs, on the power play, at 13:48 off assists from Zibanejad and Igor Shesterkin. The Rangers gave up the equalizer less than three minutes later in the period. In the third period, the shots were even at eight with New York outscoring Pittsburgh 2-0 to earn the victory. Kreider scored his second of the night and his fourth of the playoffs at 18:32 with assists going to Fox and Zibanejad to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead. Andrew Copp closed the scoring with an empty-net goal for his fourth goal of the playoffs at the 19:33 mark of the period. Fox and Kevin Rooney drew the assists on the goal. Shesterkin made 31 saves for the Rangers, who outshot the Penguins 38-34, in the victory. He’s expected to be between the pipes again for this decisive contest.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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This has been a back-and-forth series with momentum shifting as often as the venue. Pittsburgh had the Rangers beaten and battered after Game 4 only to see the Rangers do their best Rocky Balboa impression, getting off the mat with a pair of 5-3 victories to push this to the limit. Pittsburgh is the team that is banged up now as they are playing their third-string goaltender in Domingue. Jarry was in the backup goaltender net during practice prior to Game 6 but it’s unclear as to who will play in Game 7. Coach Mike Sullivan said Jarry, Crosby and Rickard Rakell all “have a chance” to play here but it’s uncertain as to whether they’ll take the ice. Shesterkin has been better at home than on the road in this series and the Rangers have the momentum behind them. In addition, New York is healthy and motivated: look for them to take Game 7 at home and claim the series.

Prediction: New York Rangers -140

Full-Game Total Pick

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Pittsburgh has seen the over go 46-39-3 in their 88 games this season. The Penguins have seen an average of 6.27 goals per game this season though that number trends down to 5.57 goals per game on the road this season. New York comes into this game having seen the under post a 47-38-3 record in their 88 games this season. The Rangers have seen an average of 5.81 goals per game on the season. That number trends down slightly to 5.45 goals per game as the home team this season. All six games in this series have gone over the number: why expect anything different in this contest? Look for the over to strike again.

Prediction: Over 6
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Written By Chris King , "Chris King"

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO.  If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career.  Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.