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The two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins (15-10-3) will go for their fifth straight win Tuesday when they host the New York Rangers (14-10-2) as solid home favorites at the sportsbooks.
The Penguins are finally starting to roll despite losing starting goaltender Matt Murray to a lower-body injury, with backup Tristan Jarry earning each victory during their four-game winning streak.
Betting line: The Penguins opened as -146 favorites (wager $146 to win $100); the total is at TOTAL goals, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
NHL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 3.0-2.7, Rangers (NHL picks on every game)
Why the Rangers can pay on the NHL lines
How good is Jarry? Nobody really knows yet due to the small sample size, as he had only started three games in his entire NHL career before this recent run. But the Rangers have also played much better lately, reeling off 11 wins in their last 14 games, including two streaks of four or more.
The Rangers are coming off a 3-1 homestand that saw them involved in three one-goal games followed by a 5-1 rout of the Carolina Hurricanes last Friday. New York should be well-rested enough to give Pittsburgh a challenge here.
Why the Penguins can pay on the NHL lines
The Penguins have picked up their scoring during their winning streak, scoring five goals three times in four games and posting a 4-0 shutout in the other one. They outscored the Buffalo Sabres 9-1 in the last two, which is nothing to brag about, but the experience should provide Jarry with some much-needed confidence.
Jarry stopped 66 of 67 shots the Sabres fired at him while Sidney Crosby has tallied at least one point in six straight games along with eight of nine. Crosby has 10 points during the winning streak on five goals and five assists, and his play has really been the difference offensively.
Smart betting pick
Do you ride the hot goalie in this spot at home or take the visitor that has been playing better for a longer period of time? That is the big question in this Metropolitan Division matchup, as Pittsburgh has beaten only one good team during its winning streak in the Tampa Bay Lightning.
However, the Pens have won four of the past five meetings with the Rangers and 11 of 14 in the series, according to the OddsShark NHL Database. For that reason, Pittsburgh is the smarter play over New York behind Jarry and Crosby.
NHL betting trends
New York is 5-1 in its last six games.
New York is 1-4 in its last five games against Pittsburgh.
The total has gone over in four of Pittsburgh’s last six games.
All NHL odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.