The New Leaders of the Eastern Conference: NY Rangers vs. Penguins
December 19, 2016
The New York Rangers, have over taken the lead of the Eastern Conference, with a record of 23-10-1, followed closely by the Pittsburgh Penguins who are currently at 20-7-5, last week’s number one the Montreal Canadiens are not in the 4th spot with a record of 20-7-4. The Rangers being in the lead now is due in part to them having played 2 more games than the rest, and could easily lose this lead, but in the meantime, this game has inadvertently become the must watch game of the week.
The match is scheduled for Tuesday, December 20th at 7:00 pm ET, at the PPG Paint Arena in Pittsburgh, formerly known as the CONSOL Energy Center. The Rangers travel to Pittsburgh hoping to hold on to the Metropolitan division lead as well as the Eastern Conference.
The Rangers, who are on a three-game winning streak, have all eyes set on them as they prepare to battle their divisional rival. Known to be able to both score and defend and most importantly, knowing how to implement a winning game strategy, the Rangers are a threat to the Penguins for sure.
They are coming off a 3-2 shootout victory against the New Jersey Devils this past Sunday, where Henrik Lundqvist had 29 saves during regulation time, and stopping another 3 during the shootout. Kevin Hayes scored the winning goal of the game.
Pittsburgh on the other hand did not fare so well during their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, in a surprise 2-1 loss in overtime. I say surprise because the Penguins are the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference while the Maple Leafs are the No. 13 seed, so this was as big of an upset as you can get. We all know it happens from time to time, but I for one, never cease to be amazed when it does.
This game will be an exciting one to watch, not just because it happens to be the current number 1 and 2 of the conference, but because the teams are an almost even match. The Rangers are 11-5-0 on the road and the Penguins are 13-2-2 at home, which means we have a team who knows how to win on the road, playing against a strong home team, sparks are sure to fly.
Because both teams are so evenly match, predicting the winner is a little harder, who do you pick, the team who is on a winning streak or the one that just lost to a mediocre team and now needs to find redemption? Stats on totals might be of help when deciding which way to bet. The under is 4-0-1 in the last 5 matches for the Rangers where they are on a 1 day rest. The game has gone under 4-0 in their last 4 road games while the under is 5-0-2 overall in their last 7 matches. The Penguins are at the opposite side of the spectrum, the over 4-0 when the Pittsburgh plays against Metropolitan teams, and the over is 11-2-5 in Pittsburgh’s last 18 matches against teams with a winning percentage of 0.600 or higher. They have also gone over in their last 5 matches.
Picking the winner in this match will have to wait until the goalies are named, but considering that the Penguins are home I am leaning towards the over in this game.