There were probably some eyebrows raised when series odds for New York Rangers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins were released.
Given the way these two teams made the playoffs, the Rangers lead in goal, the way the season streaks have turned out, and the fact that the blueshirts have home field advantage, most people walked away assumed that New York would be preferred in this series. However, the Pens opened as -120 favorites before money came down on Rangers to push them to -115.
While the Rangers have the edge with Igor Shesterkin, the Pens were the stronger five-a-side team in the regular season. New York finished 20th in the NHL in 5-on-5 goals and had just +10 goal difference, but Pittsburgh finished 12th and had +27 goal difference. The Penguins also have the ninth-highest expected goal average since the New Year at 5-5, while the Rangers are ranked 20th for that span. Betting against Shesterkin is never fun, but Casey DeSmith was in strong enough form with one. 927 Save Percentage and +5.37 Goals Saved Over Expected (GSAx) since February 1st. Since Pittsburgh’s lead is 5-on-5, they’ll ask DeSmith to just keep them in games rather than win them alone.
In what looks like a coin toss matchup, the plus money for the penguins in Game 1 is appealing.
The game: Penguins +105.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/03/rangers-vs-penguins-prediction-visitors-will-steal-game-1/ Visitors will steal game 1