The Rangers did what they had to do in Pittsburgh. They took a split and stole home ice advantage away from the Penguins. While the San Jose Sharks don’t care much for their home ice, the Rangers certainly like it at home in downtown New York. It’s important, as the Rangers are a great home team. It was a huge win for them to get that win in game 2. The Penguins and Rangers took different paths to reach the playoffs. It wasn’t too long ago that people were questioning if the Pens were even going to reach the playoffs.
The Leafs were starting to get nervous over missing out on their extra draft pick. If the Penguins didn’t make the playoffs, they would have held on to a 1st round selection, but it goes to the Leafs now. However, towards the end of the season, it was never in question, the Penguins caught fire and were the hottest team in the NHL. The Pens concluded the season by going 18-5. One of those losses coming in their last game, which was a pretty much pointless game at that juncture.
While the Penguins had a trail of flames on their sticks and skates, the Rangers had icicles coming off them. In the playoffs though, you can throw everything in the regular season out the window. Any team in the playoffs is a contender in this league. So would it be an upset if the Rangers win the series? Yes, but it wouldn’t come off as being some big surprise. The Rangers have Lundqvist in their corner and a pretty good team to back him up. Let’s jump right into the pick for game 3 of this series, a game which promises to be an entertaining affair.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. N.Y Rangers NHL Playoffs Pick
The Red Wings looked like a completely different team on their home ice in their game 3. They played a desperate brand of hockey and thoroughly controlled the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Rangers have to play like that as well. During the regular season, Madison Square Garden was a friendly arena to the Rangers. They finished the regular season with a record of 27-10-4. This will of course be their first game at home in the 2016 playoffs. Goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury, is still trying to come back from a concussion. It appears he will be a game-time decision for game 3. So either Fleury is going to be making his first start since March 31st or Jeff Zatkoff is going to get a taste of his first playoff appearance on the road.
Zatkoff has been solid for the Pens, but he didn’t play his best in game 2. It will be a tough place for him to play at Madison Square garden, if he indeed gets the start. I worry about Fleury too, who hasn’t had in-game action since late March. He could certainly handle the pressure, but might rust be an issue for him tonight? In any event, I really like the price on the Rangers in this game. I’m getting the Rangers as a slight dog at home, a 27-10-4 record at home that is, which made for one of the best home teams in the NHL. This should be one of those long series. The Rangers should be able to evade the Penguins at home, making for a huge win in game 3.
PICK: RANGERS TO WIN +101