The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers meet Tuesday in game 1 of the West First Round NHL Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. The Pittsburgh Penguins enter the playoffs, splitting their last 10 games. The New York Rangers enter the playoffs, winning eight of their last 12 games.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are averaging 3.3 goals per game and are scoring on 20.2 percent of their power play opportunities. Jake Guentzel leads Pittsburgh with 40 goals, Kris Letang has 58 assists and Evan Rodriguez has 243 shots on goal. Defensively, the Pittsburgh Penguins are allowing 2.7 goals per game and are killing 84.4 percent of their opponent’s power plays. Tristan Jarry has allowed 138 goals on 1,711 shots faced, and Casey DeSmith has allowed 66 goals on 769 shots.
The New York Rangers are averaging 3 goals per game and are scoring on 25.2 percent of their power play opportunities. Chris Kreider leads New York with 52 goals, Artemi Panarin has 74 assists, and Mika Zibanejad has 219 shots on goal. Defensively, the New York Rangers are allowing 2.5 goals per game and are killing 82.3 percent of their opponent’s power plays. Alexandar Georgiev has given up 85 goals on 832 shots, and Igor Shesterkin has allowed 106 goals on 1,622 shots.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were a hit or miss team for much of the second half, and their offensive effort really comes and goes at times. The New York Rangers have caught fire at home in the second half of the season, and they’ve won the last three meetings against the Penguins, outscoring them 11-3 during that span. There’s also a certain energy in MSG come playoff time, and that helps. I’ll lay the cheap price with the Rangers at home.
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