NHL Saturday: Detroit Red Wings at New York Rangers prediction; Kreider will be tough to stop for Wings
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The Detroit Red Wings produced one of the most unlikely upsets of this NHL regular season when they went on the road and blanked the Metropolitan Division-leading Hurricanes 3-0 on Thursday. That win will surely have the attention of the New York Rangers, and repeating that performance in New York will be a tall task for Detroit.
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Puck line: Rangers -1.5 (-155)
The Eastern Conference playoff representatives may be nearly set, but the seeding is not. Every team that isn’t the Florida Panthers will be looking to avoid facing them in the first round – and preferably not at all throughout the playoffs. A prediction of a Rangers multiple-goal victory has a lot to do with that mentality, as they will be fighting for every point possible. You can New York -1.5 at -155, which means a $15.50 bet on the home team to win by multiple goals returns a profit of $10 if successful.
In addition to being more motivated, New York also boasts a far more talented roster. After adding center Andrew Copp at the trade deadline, they have at least five elite skaters as part of their top three lines. Chris Kreider held the goals lead heading into the all-star break and Adam Fox is one of the highest point-scorers in the league among defensemen. Mike Zibanejad has been one of the most consistent team members over the last six seasons and Artemi Panarin is a perennial threat to win the Art Ross Trophy (most points). The Rangers have become a complete team this year with its goaltending matching its skating talent. Igor Shesterkin is a borderline lock for the Vezina Trophy (best goalie). His .934 save percentage is by far the best among regular starting goaltenders in the league and he is also the top goaltender in terms of goals saved above expected.
Detroit’s goaltending is the polar opposite. They allow the second-most goals per game at 3.77. It had been the absolute worst until their shocking shutout of the Hurricanes on Thursday night. Asking the Red Wings to pull that off again is too much. Even if their goaltending is beginning to improve, their goal-scoring is still nothing to write home about. They average just 2.84 goals per game, close to the bottom 10 in the NHL. Things get even worse for the Red Wings away from home. Outside of the Motor City, they allow almost four goals per game and score a mere 2.37 per contest. Both of those marks are in the bottom three of the NHL.
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Overall: Under 6 (+100)
Shesterkin has been a great goaltender for under bets. Even when the Rangers dominate games, they still tend to finish with low totals. In their most recent game on Wednesday night New York defeated Philadelphia 4-0. This squad has stayed under or at six goals in six of its last seven games. The Red Wings have stayed under six goals in three of their last four. It’s true that Detroit gives up far too many goals, but New York doesn’t tend to win games by lighting up the scoreboard. The Rangers are second in the Metropolitan Division but only 18th overall in goal-scoring at 3.03 per game. An under bet at +100 (a successful $10 wager returns a profit of $10) has great value.
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Player prop: Chris Kreider over 2.5 shots on goal (-145)
Not only is the Red Wings’ goaltending abysmal, but they also allow the fifth-most shots per game. That is great news for Kreider, as he loves to pepper the net with goal-scoring chances. The productive forward has 50 goals on the season for a reason. He has scored those 50 goals on 235 shots in 75 games, good for an average of 3.13 shots per outing. When these two teams squared off last month, Kreider finished with six shots. The encounter prior to that one was in New York, where he also recorded six shots. Count on him being extremely active yet again.
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