In the battle of New York the Rangers and Islanders take the ice tonight to renew an intercity rivalry. This was notoriously a lopsided series. One where the Rangers always got their way against the Isles. Against them head-to-head and overall success in the NHL. But the tables have evened themselves out and the Islanders are challenging the Rangers as the best team in New York. Actually, the Isles are challenging all of the other teams in the NHL as the best team in the league, not just the best team in New York. However, the Rangers are one of the best teams in the NHL as well, so what is setting up tonight is a big and important clash between two serious contenders. The Rangers come in with a record of 40-17-2-5, but the Isles counter with a mark of 42-21-1-3. It has been an incredible journey for both team this season, but the only time it matters is in the playoffs. The Rangers have been their before. They made it to the Stanley Cup finals against the Kings and definitely have the potential to make it back there and win one more round than did then.
The Islanders have the talent to do that, too. They do not have experience on their side , not near as much as the Rangers. However, talent wise they may be able to erase that inexperience. Even if they don’t this year though, they are going to be major threats to do it for years to come. The now is bright for the Islanders and the future is bright as well. I just did an Islanders game last night, a game in which we cashed in on. The Isles were able to barely get by the struggling Leafs by a score of 4-3 in overtime. They flew back to New York last night to get ready for their showdown with the Rangers tonight. Could it be they were looking ahead last night, so it resulted in them having troubles with the Leafs? We’ll see how things transpire tonight in New York.
N.Y. Rangers @ N.Y. Islanders
In the standings there isn’t much of anything separating the Rangers and Islanders. You can come to that conclusion for yourself. Offensively there isn’t much either that separates them. There is no difference in the city the play in too, of course. However, where the Rangers get their edge is on the defensive side. And when it comes to the playoffs, defense is something teams need to make it far. We’ve seen in the NFL that offense is beginning to rule the league. In the NHL you still need to have a competent defense to find success when it matters most in the post-season. This is what should be the downfall of the Islanders. For now, because I think they will address the defense in the future, but for now there are some holes. The Islanders are allowing 2.78 goals per game for 24th in the league, while the Rangers a top 5 unit averaging 2.34 goals allowed.
Like I just said, you can’t find any kind of edge on the offensive end. We have an Islanders team averaging 3.09 goals per game, 2nd in the league, with the Rangers right behind scoring 3.05 a game. The odds makers set the price pretty evenly as well. While the Isles should be slight favorites given their home status, it isn’t much of a home game for the Isles playing in New York against New York. The Rangers already beat the Isles this season, 6-5, last month. The Islanders need to travel back home from Toronto over night with the Rangers in wait. The Rangers have the defense on the Islanders and they have the fresher legs, and in my opinion, the better team. At a price that is essentially even, I am going to lay it down on the Rangers in this exciting matchup.
PICK: RANGERS TO WIN (-101) 5DIMES.EU – BEST ODDS