The New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins meet Saturday in game 3 of the East First Round NHL Playoffs at the PPG Paints Arena. The New York Rangers look for another win to take a 2-1 series lead. The Pittsburgh Penguins look to keep home ice while taking a 2-1 lead.
The New York Rangers are averaging 4 goals per game and are scoring on 40 percent of their power play opportunities. Chris Kreider leads New York with 2 goals, Mika Zibanejad has 2 assists, and Ryan Strome has 13 shots on goal. Defensively, the New York Rangers are allowing 3 goals per game and are killing 83.3 percent of their opponent’s power plays. Igor Shesterkin has allowed 6 goals on 124 shots faced.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are averaging 3 goals per game and are scoring on 16.7 percent of their power play opportunities. Jake Guentzel leads Pittsburgh with 3 goals, Bryan Rust has 3 assists, and Sidney Crosby has 13 shots on goal. Defensively, the Pittsburgh Penguins are allowing 4 goals per game and are killing 60 percent of their opponent’s power plays. Louis Domingue has allowed 5 goals on 57 shots faced, and Casey DeSmith has allowed 3 goals on 51 shots.
The Rangers are 5-1 in their last 6 road games and 1-4 in their last 5 overall. The Penguins are 4-1 in their last 5 home games and 1-4 in their last 5 games as an underdog. The over is 4-1 in Rangers last 5 overall. The under is 8-2 in Penguins last 10 Saturday games. The Rangers are 1-5 in the last 6 meetings in Pittsburgh and 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
The New York Rangers have been the better team for most of the first two meetings, and they’ve won four of the last five meetings against the Penguins. I guess I can understand the Rangers being favored. However, there’s just something weird about seeing the Penguins at home in the underdog role in the playoffs. The Penguins may not be as good as they’ve been in years past, but there’s still a lot of experience on this roster, and that championship mentality means something this time of year. We shouldn’t be ready to just send the Penguins home. I’m grabbing the plus money here.