The New York Rangers (54-26-7) will attempt to force a Game 7 in their first-round playoff series vs the Pittsburgh Penguins (49-27-11) on Friday as small road favorites in Game 6. The Rangers vs Penguins prediction has seen the visitors become bigger chalk due to the questionable status of star Sidney Crosby (upper-body injury) for the hosts.
Rangers vs Penguins Odds & Analysis
If you want to know the true value and definition of a Most Valuable Player, look no further than Pittsburgh’s Crosby. New York trailed 2-0 in Game 5 on Wednesday until Crosby left the game with about seven minutes remaining in the second period, then scored three consecutive goals to take a brief 3-2 lead. That lasted only 13 seconds, though, because Jake Guentzel tied it up for the Penguins at 3-3 just before the final intermission. The Rangers got a power-play goal less than three minutes into the third period – which turned out to be the game-winner – and Ryan Lindgren added a late empty-netter to make it a 5-3 final.
If Crosby cannot go here, more money will likely come in on New York, making the visitors even bigger road favorites going into Game 6. The perfect OVER series trend of 5-0 too has made the total jump to 6.5 for the first time.
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Motivation High For New York In Return To PPG Paints Arena
The Rangers admitted they were not happy with the way they played in a pair of road losses prior to Game 5 that put them down 3-1 in this best-of-seven series, and they used that for motivation in their biggest matchup of the year to date.
It took them a little while to get going as well, falling behind 2-0 before they woke up and ripped off three straight goals, much to the delight of the home fans at Madison Square Garden.
That big victory should also do wonders for the confidence of goaltender Igor Shesterkin, who was recently named a finalist for both the Vezina Trophy given to the NHL’s top goalie and the Hart Trophy awarded to the league’s MVP. Shesterkin made 29 saves in Game 5 and will probably need to be even better in Game 6 regardless of whether Crosby plays.
Guentzel Continues As Pittsburgh’s Top Goal Scorer In Postseason
The Penguins would sorely miss Crosby if he is unable to play as their leading scorer with nine points (two goals and seven assists). But right behind him is Guentzel, who tallied two more goals in Game 5 to bring his total to a team-high seven to go along with one assist for eight points overall during the playoffs.
Guentzel tied Crosby for the team lead in points during the regular season with 84 (team-high 40 goals and 44 assists) and seems poised to carry the team even if Crosby is out. He was the lone bright spot for Pittsburgh on Wednesday despite the loss.
The Rangers vs Penguins prediction might have the visitors favored here, but the hosts might be live underdogs in this situation based on home ice.
Rangers vs Penguins Pick & Insights
Rangers: Keys To Victory
While Crosby may not play, giving New York a significant advantage, the team must be disciplined and not assume Pittsburgh will play like it is short-handed. Players step up all the time when given the chance due to injury – just look at Penguins goalie Louis Domingue, who has already earned three wins in this series. The Rangers need to play as if Crosby will be on the ice and get off to a better start with their backs against the wall.
Penguins: Keys To Victory
Pittsburgh has been great at home lately, winning six of their last seven there, with the past five victories decided by two goals or more, including four by three or more. Two of those wins by at least three goals took place in Games 3 and 4 of this series, as the Pens overwhelmed the Rangers to put them on the brink of elimination. Pittsburgh will need to play like that again to knock out New York, and the fans can definitely help. If you are backing the hosts with your Rangers vs Penguins pick, then you think home ice matters.
Odds Shark’s Computer Rangers vs Penguins Prediction: Penguins ML (+105)
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Odds Shark Staff Mon, Jun 27, 1:28pm