Rangers Play Desperate Against Panthers
Florida Panthers @ New York Rangers – Thursday April 18, 2013 7:00PM EST
The betting sites are keeping a close eye on the eighth and final playoff spot in the NHL’s Eastern Conference. The New York Rangers currently own the spot and are being challenged by the Winnipeg Jets and the Buffalo Sabres. The Jets hold the first tie-breaker over New York, which is games won in regulation or overtimes, so New York understands the urgency of each and every win. Luckily for New York, it is playing a Florida team that is not even really in the mood to play the role of spoiler at this point.
The Florida Panthers have six games remaining in the season and each game is going to be pure agony for the coaches and players. There is so much instability and uncertainty in the Panthers’ franchise that most of the players have no idea what they are playing for anymore. The online betting experts have been reporting on the instability in Florida ownership for some time and the franchise is on the verge of bankruptcy. The notion that the Florida Panthers could play spoiler in its last few games of the season is a nice one, but it is a difficult sell to the players on the ice.
Why the Rangers Will Win
The Rangers have put together a 5-4-1 record in its last 10 games, but the team knows that it will need to play better than that to hold onto the final playoff spot. The Winnipeg Jets are on a four-game winning streak and the sports book experts see the Jets as a more prominent playoff team than the Rangers. The Panthers have some pride, so the Rangers will have to do more to win this game than just show up. But if New York can play its physical style and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist can play to his normal high level, then New York should be able to win this one.
Why the Panthers Will Win
The Panthers are on a three-game losing streak and have no real expectations for the remainder of the season. Everything that the Panthers did last year to win the Southeast Division did not pan out this year, especially in goal. There will be significant changes to the Panthers’ franchise prior to next season, but it remains to be seen as to exactly what kind of changes the organization will make. There are still questions as to whether or not the franchise will be in the state of Florida next season. Those are some hard distractions to ignore.
The Bottom Line
The New York Rangers need this game and will play with a sense of desperation. The Florida Panthers are a bad hockey team that would have no answers for New York’s desperation level of play. This will be a great game for Rangers’ fans to watch, but it will be painful to watch for the few Panthers’ fans remaining.
Pick: New York Rangers
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