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A fresh week of NHL action is upon us and I tend to make it a profitable one. I dropped my most recent pick as the Oilers and Predators skated to a one-goal affair, with the Preds escaping the lowly Oilers by a 1-0 score. This was definitely not expected on the Predators home ice as their strong defensive play continued, however their offense managed just a single goal against an Oilers team that gives up around 3.5 per game. Nonetheless we have five games on the board tonight and will look to get the week started on a positive note.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ New York Rangers
My Pick – OVER 5.5 (+110)
The Rangers and Lightning collide for the third time in just over two weeks this evening to conclude a three-game season series at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers have been on the wrong end of two high-scoring affairs against Tampa Bay recently and are looking to put a stop to the high-powered Lightning offensive burst as of late. Tampa Bay has plenty of players on their roster who are having huge years. Ryan Callahan, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn and Nikita Kucherov have been absolutely terrific for a Lightning team that already boasts the NHL’s best pure goal-scorer in Steven Stamkos. With the years the aforementioned players have enjoyed so far, it’s not surprise this Tampa Bayt team is averaging 3.5 goals per game and a powerplay that is clicking at over 24% on the season. The Rangers haven’t enjoyed quite the offensive outburst that the Lightning have had this season, however they are no slouches on the offensive side of the puck either. Rick Nash, along with Stamkos, is an early season Rocket Richard candidate as the big veteran has 16 goals on the season to go along with 25 points in only 23 games so far. The return of Derek Stepan 12 games ago to the Rangers lineup has also been a boost as he has 12 points in those 12 games and along with Nash and Chris Kreider has formed quite the formidable first line for New York. Of course we have two good goalies between the pipes tonight in the form of Henrik Lundqvist and Ben Bishop, however that didn’t stop the two clubs from scoring seven goals in their last meeting on November 26th. The two teams have combined for 13 goals over their two games in the last couple of weeks and clearly I expect more of the same tonight. Keep in mind there is a lot on the line when these two teams play each other this season. Two players are playing against the team they recently Captained in Marty St. Louis and Ryan Callahan, adding fuel to the fire for their last head-to-head meeting this season. I have no reason to like the under in this game, so let’s once again take the OVER 5.5 between the two clubs and watch them go at it tonight on Broadway.