Pittsburgh Penguins (24-10-1) at New York Rangers (16-17-1)
|Date & Time||Wednesday December 18, 2013, 8:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: New York Rangers +114 / Pittsburgh Penguins -126 --- Over/Under: 5
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The might Pittsburgh Penguins have lost just once in their last 10 games and they head to New York City to take on a Rangers club that is struggling to find their way. Despite injuries to Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin the Penguins continue to roll along, taking down the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 3-1 on Monday night. Chris Conner gave the Penguins an early lead less than a minute into the game with his third goal of the season but the game was tied 1-1 late in the third period before Sidney Crosby netted the game winner. It doesn't matter what the situation is the Penguins find themselves in because they're a veteran hockey club that has been through it all and knows how to win. That's something their opponents are looking to figure out. The New York Rangers are coming off a 4-3 shootout victory over the Calgary Flames on Sunday night but even that was a struggle for this club that found itself in a 2-0 hole early in the game. New York has gotten poor play from almost all of their key players and that's why they've underachieved so much this season. Alain Vigneault and his system can only be to blame so much, but when your top players aren't getting the job done you aren't going to win. Henrik Lundqvist has been a disaster to start the year, Rick Nash was injured and now that he's back he's not being a dominant presence on the ice. Marc Staal and Ryan Callahan are both injured and even before that were both underwhelming. Dan Girardi hasn't been the same on the back end and right now Mats Zuccarello and Chris Kreider, both players that couldnt even stay in the lineup last season, have been their best players. This is a hockey club that is really struggling to generate offense because they need their defenseman to help out and that just isn't happening. Add in all the bad goals that Lundqvist has allowed and it's a recipe for disaster in Manhattan. This is another game where the Rangers are playing a much better hockey club and getting a little too much credit here. Yes the Penguins are favored on the road in this one but at -126 with the way these teams have been playing that looks like a steal. New York needs to put some consistent hockey together before they can be trusted against anyone, let alone a team as good as the Penguins.