New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets will face each other in the NHL action on Friday evening. The hosts will search for their way back to the winning streak and continue a solid campaign. The away side has been in an inconsistent form lately, and they want to stabilize it.
New York enjoyed a four-game winning streak until their latest match, in which they suffered a defeat. The home side wants to improve in front of the home crowd and give them a reason to celebrate. On the other hand, Columbus heads to their first trip after three home games. The visitors want to build up on their latest victory and pick up a win in New York.
New York Rangers – Can they get back on the winning track?
The Rangers broke their run of four straight victories after losing to Calgary flames 5-1 in their latest match. Nevertheless, the hosts can be happy with their start of the campaign, as they are third in the Metropolitan Division with a 4-2-1 record. Moreover, New York played only two games on the home ice, and they lost on both occasions. However, the Rangers didn’t shine in their last match. Igor Shesterkin had a bad evening on the goal, conceding five times and with a .865 save percentage.
On the other hand, only Dryden Hunt made it on the scoreboard, and the Rangers need to address their offensive issues. Mika Zibanejad has been the most notable New York’s player in the final third with six points and with team-high five assists. Chris Kreider is the Rangers’ top scorer with four goals, while Adam Fox assisted four times and scored once. Igor Shesterkin has been the first-choice goalie in most of the matches, having a solid .933 save percentage and conceding 2.17 goals per match on average.
Expected Line-Up: Igor Shesterkin, Ryan Lindgren, Adam Fox, Alexis Lafreniere, Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider
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Columbus Blue Jackets – Will they succeed on the road?
The Blue Jackets were successful in their latest game, celebrating a 4-1 win against Dallas. Gregory Hofmann and Oliver Bjorkstrand led Columbus to a victory against the Stars combining two goals and assists. On the other hand, Elvis Merzlikins was brilliant between the pipes, allowing just one goal from 32 shots. That victory saw them moving up to the 5th spot in the Metropolitan Division with a 4-2-0 record. It will be interesting to see the Blue Jackets on the road again, as they played just once away from home this season.
Oliver Bjorkstrand has been the most dominant player in the final third for the Blue Jackets, as he produced nine points, including six assists. Boone Jenner has been the most efficient player with four goals, while Patrik Laine and Zach Werenski contributed with a pair of goals and four assists each. Elvis Merzlikins has had an excellent season so far, as he has conceded 1.48 goals per game on average, with a .952 save percentage.
Expected Line-Up: Elvis Merzlikins, Zach Werenski, Jake Bean, Jakub Voracek, Patrik Laine, Boone Jenner
Expert Pick #1 – Columbus Blue Jackets to win (Inc. OT and Pen.) @+150
Although Columbus has played most of its games on the road so far, I find the +150 odds pretty attractive. They have been good defensively and are not without a chance against the Rangers. I can see the value in this pick, and I’m going to back the visitors.
Expert Pick #2 – Under 5.5 @-114
The Rangers have issues converting their chances into goals, while Elvis Merzlikins has been impressive so far in the season. I expect to see a tight match, which shouldn’t go over a 5.5 margin. Therefore, I’ll take the Under as my second bet.
Expert Pick #3 – Blue Jackets Over 2.5 RT @+118
If you are searching for an alternative market with good odds, the Blue Jackets to score more than 2.5 goals in the regular time could be a good choice. The visitors could put a good display here, and I’ll back them being efficient in this match