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Rangers vs. Devils, 7:00 ET
A shootout. That’s what got me last night. I won’t complain too much, I’ve won a few games due to a shootout, but last night hurt. I was happy to see that I was at least on the right idea or strategy but it didn’t work out for us. This is still a work in progress for me, and there are no real moral victories with hockey. I’m hopeful that we can get back to a nice winning streak though.
The Rangers are 44-20-10 and this game is pretty important for them as they are sitting in third place within the Metropolitan Division staring up at their opponent, the New Jersey Devils. The Rangers have been very good on the road this year with a 22-8-6 record. They also have been playing very good hockey lately. Over the past five games, they’ve won four of those games and have reeled off three in a row. Their offense is running on all cylinders right now with them scoring 21 goals over the past five games. Their one loss against the Hurricanes was just a 3-2 loss. They’ve also been good at controlling the puck and their defense has benefited as they’ve only allowed nine goals over the past five games. The Rangers should have Igor Shesterkin in the net today. In March, the Rangers are 8-2 with him in the net and he’s allowed two or fewer goals in six of the ten games. That’s good for a 2.08 goals against per game average. He’s been in the net for all three games against the Devils. He’s allowed at least three goals in all of those games.
The Devils, as mentioned, are ahead of the Rangers in the standings right now and would like to keep it that way, but they are not playing very good hockey right now. Not only have they lost three of their past five games, they’ve lost six of their past eight contests. Part of this is a brutal travel schedule. They haven’t played consecutive games in a city since March 14th and 16th. This will be the seventh different city that they play in since March 18th. That is a ton of travel for a team. They leave for Chicago after this game, too. Actually, the next time they play in the same building two games in a row is April 4th. The Devils will have Vitek Vanecek in the goal tonight. In March, the Devils are just 4-4 in his eight starts and have lost five of his past nine appearances. He’s allowed at least three goals in five of his past nine outings. All of this is to say that he isn’t in great form right now.
I think the Rangers are the team to beat in this one tonight. They are playing great hockey right now. As good as the Devils are this season, the Rangers are rolling and this is a terrible schedule stretch for New Jersey. I’m backing the Rangers at +115 in this game.
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