Hockey Pick: Anaheim Ducks @ New York Rangers 11/3/11
Times are trying right now the Ducks, as they are in the midst of a seven game road trip in which they just haven’t played all that well. The team only has one win to show for its first five games, a 3-2 win at the Minnesota Wild, and most recently on Tuesday, the team blew a huge lead against the Washington Capitals and ended up losing 5-4 in overtime. Now, with just a day to travel to the Big Apple, Anaheim has to lick its wounds and get right back on the ice. These defensive struggles are nothing new to the Ducks. They were one of the worst defensive teams in the playoffs last year, and they have really fallen off over these last seven games after a great start to the season. The team has surrendered at least three goals in six of its last seven, raising its goal per game average up to 2.7. The offense just isn’t good enough to allow this many goals. Anaheim is only averaging 24.8 shots per game, the third lowest total in hockey, and the end result is just 2.1 goals per game, the fourth worst mark.
The Rangers definitely don’t want to hear about offensive woes. Even after scoring nine goals in a span of three days against the Ottawa Senators and San Jose Sharks, the team still only ranks No. 19 in the league at 2.5 goals per game and No. 29 in shots per game at 24.5. All of the offensive woes were supposed to leave when Brad Richards and Ruslan Fedotenko, two players whom Head Coach John Tortorella helped take to the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning, signed on. Richards does lead the team with nine points, but he has topped 90 points twice before in his career, and he is expected to do just that again this year for the Rangers. With All-Star defender, Marc Staal out of the lineup for an unforeseen amount of time with a concussion and Michael Rupp doubtful for the next week or two with a knee injury, the Rangers brought back in Sean Avery, a man which they cut at the beginning of the season. This definitely bolsters the toughness of the team, something that hasn’t been lacking for a squad that already has committed 179 penalty minutes this year, third most in hockey.
Anaheim Ducks @ New York Rangers Pick: In the end, we just don’t trust the Ducks to have anything in the tank after losing like that at the Verizon Center on Tuesday. Back the Rangers to take two points on Thursday night.
NHL Pick: New York Rangers
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