The New York Rangers host Philadelphia tonight with third place in the Atlantic division up for grabs
New York has won five-straight home games vs. their division rival, outscoring Philly 20-5 in the process
As the lockout-shortened NHL season reaches the halfway mark the New York Rangers are still struggling to find an identity. During a recent four-game losing streak New York (10-8-2) was outscored 13-6 but a pair of wins has inched the club back in position for a move inside the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Philadelphia (11-11-1) is coming off a 3-2 home stand and will follow this game with tough matchups against the Penguins and Bruins. The Flyers have had a hard time away from Wells Fargo Center this year with just four wins in 12 tries but capped its latest tour with back-to-back wins vs. the Islanders and Pens. Philly scored 13 goals in those two games and is riding a 5-2 hot streak in which they’ve outscored opponents 4.0 to 2.7 per game.
Ilya Bryzgalov will start in net for the road squad and Henrik Lundqvist will man the crease for New York. Online sports betting shops offer the Rangers as a -132 moneyline favorite with Over/Under odds posted at 5.5 Under -143. Pinnacle Sports has NHL odds for the first period at 1.5 Under -122 and that’s where we’ve focused today’s play.
Despite their poor road record the Flyers have actually averaged more goals per game away (2.92) that at home (2.82) this season. They also rank seventh overall in first period scoring and in 12 road games have scored 13 first period goals while allowing 13. New York’s offense thrives on home ice where they’ve scored 2.97 goals per game compared to a 1.57 average away, which is lowest in the league. In 15 home games the Rangers have 14 first period goals and even with King Henrik’s 8-4 home record we feel this game will have a quicker pace than oddsmakers expect.
Pick: Take the Flyers-Rangers Over 1.5 goals (+113) in the first period