New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins will open Wednesday’s action in the NHL 2021-22 playoffs. The home side seeks a victory to stay in the series, as otherwise, they will end the post-season in the first round. The visitors have been excellent so far, and they want to celebrate again for a place in the conference semi-finals.
New York has been poor in defense lately, and that cost them two defeats on the road. The hosts are 3-1 down in this series, and they need a better performance on Wednesday evening. On the other hand, Pittsburgh has been confident on the home ice, and they managed to capitalize on the victory in Game 1 on the road. Another success would see them heading to the next stage.
New York Rangers – Can they extend the series?
The Rangers fell short on the road, losing both matches in Pittsburgh. Since they also suffered a defeat in the opening game of the series, they are currently 3-1 down in the playoffs first round. New York goes to this game after losing 7-2 on Monday evening. Although they took the lead in Game 4, the Rangers conceded five goals in the second period. At that point, it was clear that they needed a miracle to secure a positive result and level the series. New York had 17 shots less than their rivals in the previous match and also won ten faceoffs less.
Artemi Panarin has been the most efficient player in New York’s offense with five points, including two goals and three assists. Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox, and Frank Vatrano managed to produce four pts each, while Andrew Copp tops the Rangers’ scoring charts with three goals. Ryan Strome also has three pts, while three other skaters have chipped in with two points. Regarding the goaltending, Igor Shesterkin had severe issues in the past two encounters. He allows 4.26 goals per contest and has a .905 save percentage.
Expected Line-Up: Igor Shesterkin, Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba, Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad
with best odds
Pittsburgh Penguins – Will they end the job on Wednesday evening?
The Penguins made great use of playing on the home ice to grab a 3-1 lead in the series. They were pretty confident in the last two matches, shipping seven goals in each encounter. Despite conceding first, Pittsburgh netted five times in the second period to secure a 6-2 advantage ahead of the final 20 minutes. They eventually celebrated a 7-2 win, dominating the Rangers in the offense. On the other hand, the Penguins had only two penalty minutes in Game 4.
Sidney Crosby has been the most productive player in Pittsburgh’s offense in the playoffs with nine points, including a team-high seven assists. Jake Guentzel is the team’s best scorer with five goals while contributing with a total of six pts. Bryan Rust and Mike Matheson have five points each, while four other skaters managed to chip in with three pts apiece. On the goal, Louis Domingue does a decent job replacing Tristan Jarry. He has a .906 percentage, conceding 3.40 goals per contest.
Expected Line-Up: Louis Domingue, Kris Letang, John Marino, Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust
Expert Pick #1 – Pittsburgh Penguins to win @+115
The rangers are a talented team, but nothing goes well for them in this series. On the other hand, Pittsburgh is too experienced to waste a chance like this one. Although the visitors are slight underdogs in this match, I’ll back them to finish the job as my first pick at the plus money odds.
Expert Pick #2 – Over 6 @-125
All four games of this series went over the margin, and I don’t see why this one would be different. Igor Shesterkin has had difficulties between the pipes, while Louis Domingue is a backup goalie for the Penguins. I’ll stick with the Over as my second bet.
Expert Pick #3 – Pittsburgh Penguins Over 2.5 @-160
Pittsburgh scored three or more goals in three of the four games of this series. They shipped 14 goals on the last two occasions, and although the odds are low for this pick, I’ll take it as my second alternative for this matchup.