The Pittsburgh Penguins (3-1) look to close out the New York Rangers (1-3) in Game 5 of their 1st-round Eastern Conference playoff series. Puck drop from Madison Square Garden is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET (ESPN). Below, we look at the Penguins vs. Rangers odds and lines, and make our expert NHL picks, predictions and bets.
The Rangers can’t go out like this, can they? The favorite for the Vezina Trophy all season Igor Shesterkin, being chased from the net in the last two games and being thoroughly outplayed by a third-string goalie in Louis Domingue?
Pittsburgh won 2 at home, which is what they were supposed to do. However, it’s the fashion in which they did it that makes this series feel so disproportionate. The Pens won 7-4 and 7-2 to take a commanding 3-1 lead. Future Hall-of-Fame C Sidney Crosby had 1 goal and 4 assists in the 2 wins, and he leads the team with 9 points in the playoffs. He has been great, but it’s the supporting cast emerging around him that has been the difference. LW Jake Guentzel has stepped up with 5 goals in the series.
For the Rangers, it’s not all doom and gloom. The Penguins have exploited a soft spot by parking in front of the net and scoring often on deflections. That’s correctable. The Rangers aren’t getting production outside of their top-3 forwards Artemi PanarinChris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad, who each have a point per game. They need LW Alexis Lafreniere to play above his 20-year-old age as he has just 2 points in the series.
Penguins at Rangers odds and lines
- Money line: Penguins +110 (bet $100 to win $110) | Rangers -135 (bet $135 to win $100)
- Against the spread (ATS): Penguins +1.5 (-220) | Rangers -1.5 (+165)
- Over/Under (O/U): 6.5 (O: +102 | U: -122)
Penguins at Rangers projected goalies
Louis Domingue (1-1-0, 2.02 GAA, .952 SV% – regular season) vs. Igor Shesterkin (36-13-4, 2.07 GAA, .935 SV%, 6 SO – regular season)
Domingue has been solid with a 3.07 GAA and .917 SV% in the series, but he has allowed 3.67 goals per game in his 3 starts. He has been beatable, and the Rangers are expected to throw everything at him in Game 5.
The Rangers have announced they’re sticking with Shesterkin. However, there are sure to be second-guessers after Alexandar Georgiev made 29 saves on 31 shots in relief of Shesterkin the last 2 games. Shesterkin has allowed 10 goals on 45 shots in the last 2 games. Let’s not forget he made an insane 79 saves in the triple-OT thriller in Game 1.
It’s do or die for New York. Look for them to air it out at home because this series could easily be tied 2-2 if certain bounces went their way in the 3-OT loss in Game 1. The Rangers were 3-1 against the Pens in the regular season, and that loss was 1-0. The price is pretty solid at home, and they’ll survive another day. Take the RANGERS -135.
The Rangers -1.5 (+165) could very well cash, but the Penguins have scored 14 goals in the last 2 games on the team with arguably the best goalie in hockey PASS.
The Over has been money all series, and we’re still getting plus-money on it. The Over has cashed in the last 5 playoff games for the Pens and the last 4 they were underdogs. The Over has also cashed in the last 7 games following a Rangers loss of 3 or more goals. Take the OVER 6.5 (+102).