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Rangers, Penguins Face Off Amid Goaltending Uncertainties

Igor Shesterkin gets the start Friday for the New York Rangers, who are moneyline underdogs in NHL odds to the host Pittsburgh Penguins.

The New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins open a two-game series on Friday, the first two of their four meetings over the next 10 days. The Penguins are 2-2, winning each of their last two over Washington in overtime, while the Rangers are 1-2 and coming off a loss to the Devils.

New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Date/Time: January 22, 7 p.m. ET
  • Arena: PPG Paints Arena
  • TV Coverage: ATTP
  • Opening Odds: Penguins -175  | O/U 6.5 (Line History)
  • Rangers vs Penguins Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The game opened with the Penguins as favorites at -175 and that line has moved down into the -140 to -145 range. The total is locked at 6.5 with the UNDER the slight favorite at -115 at most sportsbooks.

New York News & Notes

After an opening-night loss to the Islanders, the Rangers have been the better team in each of their last two games. Despite picking up a loss to the Devils on Tuesday, the Rangers had the majority of the shots, scoring chances and high-danger scoring chances. New York’s 13 high-danger scoring chances in that game more than doubled their previous season high of six.

It is only a matter of time before this talented lineup starts to convert chances into goals. Artemi Panarin and Pavel Buchnevich are tied for the team lead with four points in three games, but the team is still waiting for its young stars to show up. 2020 No. 1 pick Alexis Lafreniere and 2019 No. 2 pick Kaapo Kakko have combined for one point through three games.

In net, rookie goaltender Igor Shesterkin got the opening-night start but had a tough night in the loss. Backup Alexandar Georgiev had a shutout in the team’s second game but was pulled against the Devils. Shesterkin will get the nod Friday in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh News & Notes

After starting the year with a couple of losses, the Pittsburgh Penguins won two overtime thrillers against the Capitals. The Penguins have controled play in all four of their games this season, outshooting their opponent in each contest.

Even better news for the Penguins is they have not had great contributions from several key players yet this year. While captain Sidney Crosby leads the team with five points in four games, Evgeni Malkin has just one point and top-six forwards Jake Guentzel, Jason Zucker and Bryan Rust have combined for just one goal. There is a lot of meat on the bone for the Pens offensively.

The goaltending situation has been another story. Tristan Jarry is supposed to be the starter but is 0-2 with a horrific .727 save percentage after getting pulled in their second game. Casey DeSmith has won two in a row but sports a modest .871 save percentage and 2.76 goals-against average himself. The starter had not been named for Friday as of the time of writing.

Betting Pick: Penguins -145

Despite the goaltending situation, the Penguins’ underlying numbers are encouraging, and they are playing a team with some goalie issues of its own. We like the Penguins to pick up a third straight win at home.

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Shark Bites
  • The Rangers are 7-13 in their last 20 games vs the Penguins.
  • The OVER is 8-1 in the last 9 meetings between these teams.
  • The UNDER is 6-1 in the Rangers’ last 7 games.