On Brink of Elimination, Rangers Favored at Home in Game 5

On Brink of Elimination, Rangers Favored at Home in Game 5
By Cecil Peters
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

The Pittsburgh Penguins solved New York Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin often in Game 5 of their seven-game series on Monday night, chasing him after scoring six goals on 30 shots in the first two periods en route to a 7-2 win. 

The win gave the Penguins a commanding 3-1 lead in the first-round series with a chance to end the Rangers’ season tonight in New York (ESPN, 7 p.m.).

The Penguins totaled 14 total goals in the two games in Pittsburgh as they also won Game 3, 7-4.

That kind of offense is one of several reasons the series has been confusing to anyone interested in New York sports betting.

A Look at Odds for Game 5

Despite the high totals in the past two games, the over/under for Wednesday’s game is only 6.0 at FanDuel Sportsbook New York. With Pittsburgh rolling out third-string goaltender Louis Domingue and Shesterkin struggling, the over is definitely in play, especially if it can be found at that 6.0 number instead of 6.5.

Back at home with their backs against the wall, the Rangers are favored in Game 5 with odds of -135 on Caesars Sportsbook New York. While Shesterkin couldn’t be faulted much in Game 4, as almost all of the goals came on deflections, the fact that Pittsburgh has beaten Shesterkin so much recently has to be an extreme concern for the Rangers. When Shesterkin isn’t on top of his game, the Rangers rarely have much of a chance to win.

For the series, the Rangers are now up to +500 at FanDuel and the Penguins are -690. PointsBet Sportsbook New York will give you the Rangers at +475 and the Penguins at -650.

A game away from elimination, NHL betting has the Rangers at +5500 to win the Cup on FanDuel, very long odds indeed. The Penguins are at +1300 and the Colorado Avalanche are favored at +220.

Goalie Not Superman After All

Shesterkin struggled down the stretch run due to fatigue and it appears that might be the case again. Still, his all-world talent always gives the Rangers a chance to win games.

Not helping Shesterkin’s stamina is the sheer volume of shots he has faced. Pittsburgh put 83 shots on goal in the triple OT series opener and have followed up with 41, 37 and 41 shots, respectively, in the games after.

The Penguins simply have dominated the shot share in the series and it seems to be wearing down the Rangers. 

Pittsburgh’s stars also have vastly outproduced the top players on the Rangers. Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel have combined for 15 points, a pace the Rangers’ top guns haven’t been able to keep up with despite Pittsburgh rolling out its third choice goalie. 

Artemi Panarin leads New York with five points through four games. Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox are also all at a point-per-game pace but it hasn’t been enough thus far.

What to Expect Tonight

Though the ice has been heavily tilted so far in Pittsburgh’s favor, the toughest win to get in a series is always the fourth. The Rangers should come out with their best effort of the playoffs. It can’t get much worse than Game 4, as they only had a 21% share of the expected goals at even strength, by far their worst game of the four. The Penguins’ defensive structure has been hard to break, but knowing if they lose they will go home should give the Rangers some extra motivation. If not, of course, it will be see you next year.

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Contributors

Cecil Peters is a Senior Betting Analyst for EmpireStakes..com. A professional sports bettor in Canada, Cecil specializes in analyzing the latest odds impacting professional sports teams, with a focus on a league's favorite players and teams. In New York, that includes his specialty, the NHL, and the Rangers, Islanders and Sabres.

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