Penguins vs NY Rangers - Game 1 Playoff Preview & NHL Betting Lines
Pittsburgh Penguins (-190) at NY Rangers (+165)
Thursday (7:05 ET) – April 16, 2015
It’s been a long regular season for both the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers. And just like last year, the playoffs bring these two squads together once again. This time it’s a first round matchup; a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference semifinal series that saw the Rangers hand the Penguins a 4-3 series defeat in route to a finals appearance. However, in this case the two are not as evenly matched as last year’s teams. New York boasts the best record in the East, while also claiming the President’s Trophy. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh just barely made the postseason cut, wining just three of their last 10 games of the season.
What to watch from the Pittsburgh Penguins (43-27-12)
Pittsburgh barely crossed the finish line and into the playoffs due to a horrific effort in the last stretch of games this year. The one shining light for the Penguins is the lifting of the salary cap upon the start of the postseason. In need of some desperate help, they’ll be able to add depth and strength to the roster while key players like Christian Ehrhoff and Olli Maatta are healing. In addition, center Brandon Sutter’s play this season gives this squad a semblance of hope. The 26-year old finished the year with his second-straight 20-goal season. He will have to be at his best for the Penguins to have any chance in this series.
What to watch from the NY Rangers (53-22-7)
The Rangers on the other hand, have been one of the strongest teams in the league all year long. The balance of speed and depth makes them extremely difficult to handle. Head coach Alain Vigneault has transformed this club since his arrival last season. New York was an offensive machine this year, finishing the year with 113 points along with a plus-60 goal differential. Aside from the numbers, this team also possesses the intangibles necessary to make a championship run. When goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was sidelined they went on a tear, going 18-4-3. The true measure of a team is how they react when facing adversity, and the Rangers took the challenge.
NHL Betting Picks: Rangers, Over
New York will run away with this game in dominating fashion. That’s not to say that the Penguins are not capable of coming away with a victory. But if the Rangers play the way they have played all season long, Pittsburgh doesn’t have much of a chance both in this game and for the series.
*Betting lines mentioned in this article are subject to change to due time sensitivity. Please visit the sportsbook for up to date odds.
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