Date/Time: December 18th, 8:00 p.m. ET
Television: NBC Sports Network
The Pittsburgh Penguins are facing some major question marks going into Wednesday night’s duel on the NHL betting lines against their hated Metropolitan Division rivals, the New York Rangers on the hallowed ice of Madison Square Garden.
The Pens have some major injury woes, and they have to be scratching their head as to where they are getting all of their defensive pairings from. Two full pairings, and good ones at that, are out of the fold for at least the next couple weeks. D Brooks Orpik took that devastating hit against the Boston Bruins last week, putting him on IR, while his partner in crime, D Kris Letang, one of the highest scoring defensemen in the league every season, is on IR as well. The second pair of D Rob Scuderi and D Paul Martin are both out for at least another two weeks as well. D Deryk Engelland has a potential suspension looming after he knocked out LW Justin Abdelkader of the Detroit Red Wings over the weekend. To make matters worse, LW James Neal is already suspended for this one, and C Evgeni Malkin has a leg injury which he suffered on Saturday, and he hasn’t played since. And then there’s the fact that this is the first of two games in two nights for the Penguins, and G Jeff Zatkoff is going to have to play in one of these two games instead of the man who has been the glue to this team all year, G Marc-Andre Fleury.
If there’s ever a chance for the Rangers to take two points from the Penguins, tonight is clearly the night. New York was the team which was dealing with major injuries all year long, but everyone for the most part is back on the ice. RW Ryan Callahan and the underachieving D Marc Staal are both out with long term injuries, but LW Rick Nash and the rest of the gang are healthy. Nash has been a massive bust this year, scoring just six goals and six helpers in his 17 healthy games played. C Brad Richards is the team leader with 25 points, and had you told us at the start of the season that the Rangers wouldn’t have a player on a pace for 70 points this year, we would have told you that you were crazy. There’s just far too much talent on this team to be held back by a lack of big time scoring.
The Rangers though, should get the spoils in this one. The Penguins’ biggest problem in terms of a betting standpoint is that they keep winning in spite of the fact that they have all of these injuries. There’s going to be a point where it all catches up with them, and this just feels like the game where it is going to happen. There’s much more stock in this game in New York than there is in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Penguins @ New York Rangers Pick: New York Rangers
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.