Atlantic Division foes battle for positioning at the quarter pole of the season, and we are set to make our NHL picks in the clash on Tuesday night between the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Sidney Crosby is back in the lineup, and he is already lighting the world on fire for the Penguins. Since his return to the fold after 10 months out with a concussion, Pittsburgh has only dropped one point, an overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues at home. The team has opened up a bit of a lead in the Atlantic Division as a result, and it has the most points in hockey starting off the week with 32. Crosby already has eight points in four games, including two goals and six helpers. He is a +7, which is the second best mark on the team. We don’t give it long until Crosby has run down Evgeni Malkin and James Neal atop the list of point accumulators on this team, though we do have to say that Neal has been a monster this year. The man that was traded for last year to replace Crosby in the starting lineup has 13 goals and 10 assists, making him one of the few in the league that can already boast that they have accounted for double digits worth of goals and assists. Malkin is just behind with eight goals and 14 assists.
The Rangers are sneaky right now. They are technically in third place in the Atlantic Division, as they have just 27 points in 20 games. That leaves them two back of the Philadelphia Flyers and five back of the Penguins, not to mention just two up on the New Jersey Devils. However, New York has only played in 20 games this year, not the 24 of Pittsburgh, 23 of Philly, and 22 of New Jersey. This team has the most points per game in the entire league this year at 1.35, and with a 6-1-1 record at Madison Square Garden intact coming into this week, we have a hard time seeing how it is going to fall off of the pace any time in the near future. This is the best start that the team has had to a season at home since 1992. New York has won nine out of 11 games overall to get it back in the driver’s seat after an iffy start to the season. The offense is really getting the job done, scoring at least three goals in seven of those 11 tussles. This was a real problem for the Rangers in the past, as Henrik Lundqvist would have no help whatsoever in spite of the fact that he was always one of the best net minders in the game.
Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Rangers Pick: Lundqvist has his help now, and with this game being played at MSG, we just can’t go against the Rangers. New York has a great opportunity this year to do something special, and we think that it takes a big step in the right direction with a victory in this one.
NHL Pick: New York Rangers
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.