The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils meet Tuesday in game 1 of the NHL East First Round Playoffs at the Prudential Center. Let’s preview this game and give out a pick and prediction.
The New York Rangers are averaging 3.3 goals per game and are scoring on 24.1 percent of their power play opportunities. Mika Zibanejad leads New York with 39 goals, Artmei Panarin has 63 assists, and Chris Kreider has 229 shots on goal. Defensively, the New York Rangers are allowing 2.6 goals per game and are killing 81.2 percent of their opponent’s power plays. Igor Shesterkin has allowed 144 goals on 1,719 shots faced, and Jaroslav Halak has given up 66 goals on 680 shots.
The New Jersey Devils are averaging 3.5 goals per game and are scoring on 21.9 percent of their power play opportunities. Jack Hughes leads New Jersey with 43 goals, Dougie Hamilton has 52 assists and Nico Hischier has 256 shots on goal. Defensively, the New Jersey Devils are allowing 2.7 goals per game and are killing 82.6 percent of their opponent’s power plays. Vitek Vanecek has allowed 119 goals on 1,333 shots faced, and Mackenzie Blackwood has allowed 60 goals on 563 shots.
The Rangers are 4-1 in their last 5 Tuesday games and 4-1 in their last 5 vs. Metropolitan. The Devils are 5-0 in their last 5 home games and 4-1 in their last 5 overall. The under is 4-0 in Rangers last 4 overall. The over is 5-2 in Devils last 7 overall. The Rangers are 10-4 in the last 14 meetings. The home team is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings. The favorite is 11-3 in the last 14 meetings.
The New Jersey Devils are getting the benefit of the doubt because of home ice, and they ended the regular season in nice form. However, the New York Rangers have not only had the upper hand over the Devils in recent years, but their defensive effort makes them a threat for a deep playoff run. Yes, the Devils are more balanced, but the Rangers' scrappiness makes them tough to turn down in the underdog role, especially with the history between these clubs. Give me the Rangers.