New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins Pick-Odds-Prediction - 5/2/14
New York Rangers (45-31-6) at Pittsburgh Penguins (51-24-7)
NHL Hockey: Friday, May 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm (Consol Energy Centre)
The Line: Pittsburgh Penguins -150 / New York Rangers +135 --- Over/Under: 5 See the Latest Odds
The Pittsburgh Penguins host the New York Rangers in game one of the second round.
The Rangers squeezed by Philadelphia in game seven by a 2-1 count on home ice to advance to round two with the hopes of winning their first Stanley Cup since 1994 still alive. The series with the Flyers was as difficult as predicted but New York had the knack for scoring first and scoring early to keep their rivals at bay for most of the series. Philly was forced to play from behind and it opened up some scoring opportunities the NYR were able to capitalize on while leaning on Henrik Lundqvist to keep leads. Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards led the Rangers in scoring in the first round with six points each but the offense wasn't consistent and their 3-29 efort on the power play speaks for itself and has to improve or Lundqvist will have to carry the load.
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The Penguins ousted the Blue Jackets in six games which was expected although Columbus put up a serious fight and did not go down easy. Most thought the series would be a walk in the park but Pittsburgh is so talented that they are sometimes saddled with unrealistic expectations. However they might have been as big a foe to themselves as Columbus with miscues and inconsistent performances where no lead was safe. Marc-Andre Fleury is under the microscope after an opening round that saw him misplay pucks and let in soft goals while superstar Sydney Crosby was held scoreless in the series. Crosby did play well in other facets and the Pens have plenty of scoring options with 21 goals against Columbus so this might be a non worry at the end of the day. Neutral zone and defensive zone turnovers was another issue that can't be laid at the feet of Fleury.
Each team has some things that need to be cleaned up which will cost them in round two if not addressed. I'm waiting for the line to settle but lean Pittsburgh here as I think they are rested and have the offensive firepower to neutralize Lundqvist...