Two Stanley Cup hopefuls take the ice tonight at Madison Square Garden in New York, as the St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers meet up Thursday night. In my opinion time is running out on the Rangers to win it all. They have had so many talented teams and have been right there in recent years, but the story has always been the same. If the early stages of this season are any indication, they haven’t slowed down yet, and the door isn’t going to close in 2015-16. The Rangers have gotten off to a fast 11-2-1 season. We’ve seen this one play out before, so don’t get too excited. However, they have the team to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals. Last season they had a chance to send the Tampa Bay Lightning home in game 7 of the Eastern Finals, but lost game 7 in New York, the first time the Rangers ever lost a game 7 at home (and they’ve been around for a while). There are some players that don’t care and just like to collect a nice paycheck, but you can see the disappointment on Henrik Lundqvist’s face after every season ends with nothing to show for it in the playoffs.
Lundqvist wants a Stanley Cup badly, and I have to say he definitely deserves it. The Rangers while for the most part have always had a quality product in front of him, or at least on paper it looks like it, Lundqvist has been the catalyst of the team. Once again this season, Henrik has been outstanding for the Rangers. Like I said the window is closing on the Rangers, and I think they need to make the most of it when Lundqvist is still performing at a high level. The way he has been playing thus far, definitely constitutes playing at a high level. The Blues are a team that have been trying to get something out of the playoffs as well, but have come up short. But like the Rangers, they have gotten off to a strong 11-3-1 record. It’s only November and it is fairly easy, barring major injuries, to predict where these two are going to end up at the end of the season. They will be near the top of the NHL, and talked about in discussions as favorites for a Stanley Cup, but history would dictate another choke job is in store. In any case, this is a good matchup tonight on this Thursday night in the NHL.
St. Louis Blues vs. New York Rangers Pick
You aren’t going to win games by not scoring any goals. And teams that have played the Rangers this season, have been finding it extremely difficult to find the back of the net. As good as Lundqvist and the Rangers’ defense has been in past years, this one they are looking even better if that is possible. Henrik enters tonight with a GAA of just 1.65. Likewise, overall, the Rangers have allowed only 1.60 goals per game on the season. In their last ten games they have allowed only 1.10 goals a game! The Rangers could have scored 2 goals a game and would still be looking just fine in the standings department.
If you thought a 1.65 GAA was good, how about taking a look at Jake Allen. Allen is coming into New York with a 1.53 GAA. Allen already has 3 shutouts this season on his resume, including 2 straight entering tonight. He doesn’t have the name of a Henrik Lundqvist but I would venture to say he is one of the most underrated goaltenders in the NHL. In their last ten times on the ice, the Blues have allowed under 2 goals per game with a 1.90 average. I would most definitely take a look at the UNDER 5 tonight between the Blues and Rangers. The only thing of concern I can note is that I thought the juice would have been more heavily in favor of the UNDER. Nevertheless, it looks like a good bet.
PICK: UNDER 5 GOALS -108