Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:30 PM EST.
7:30 PM EST. Regulation only. ESPN releases their “Power-Rankings” every week and this is what accompanies them: “We use a panel of voters, and these rankings reflect which teams voters think would win head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams are favored over lower-ranked teams. A run of wins doesn't guarantee a jump, and a couple of losses don't guarantee a fall”.
A panel of voters? Really ESPN? These panel of voters have the Rangers 14th in the league ahead of Pittsburgh and Anaheim among other several other teams and frankly, ESPN should be embarrassed. If the Rangers played the Ducks or Penguins in the playoffs, they would get buried by a wide margin. To have the Rags ranked higher than the Penguins and/or Ducks is equivalent to having the Cleveland Browns ranked higher than the New England Patriots. It’s fuc***ng incredible. Incidentally, the Rangers played Pittsburgh on January 14th and lost 5-2 while getting outshot 47-28.
The Rangers are absolutely one of the worst three teams in the league that has a cupboard full of lucky victories. In fact, New York’s last four wins have come against Buffalo (x2) Philadelphia and Arizona. They only deserved to beat Philadelphia, as the Flyers were flat for whatever reason. In mid-December, the Ducks went into MSG and lost 4-1. The Ducks outshot the Rags 40-30 and out-Corsied them 60-45, which is pretty much the story of the Rangers season. Rarely do the Rangers outplay anyone. Rarely do they win any battles other than the blocked shots battle because they’re always in their own end blocking shots. In 5v5 Score and Venue Adjusted Corsi For or Corsi Against, the Rangers are among the worst teams in the league and behind teams like Vancouver, Buffalo, Detroit and Arizona in many categories. The Rangers luck is running out though. They’re coming off back-to-back losses in Colorado and Los Angeles. They will play their third game on the road here and seventh game in 11 nights. They are the vastly inferior team here that will get badly outplayed once again and perhaps the best thing about the Ducks tonight is that they’re coming off a 6-2 loss to the Sharks.
The Ducks are a team nobody wants to play in the playoffs because they’re so talented and dangerous. Healthier than they’ve been all year with just one player on the rack (Patrick Eaves), Anaheim is coming on big time with points in seven of its last 10 games (six wins and one OT loss). The Ducks last four losses occurred against San Jose, Colorado, Calgary and Edmonton. Two of those losses were by one goal and in the loss to San Jose, the Ducks outshot the Sharks 35-26, thus it was a rare off game by goaltender John Gibson. The Ducks have been moving up the analytical rankings for weeks. Over the past five weeks, the Ducks rank 13th in Corsi Against Per 60 Minutes while the Rangers rank 29th. In 5v5 Score and Venue Adjusted Corsi For % over that same time span,the Ducks rank 17th while the Rangers rank dead last. The Ducks have two things are their agenda here. One, they will respond to a 6-2 loss to San Jose and two, they will want to respond to a 4-1 loss in New York last month in a game they dominated. The Blue Shirts are going to have to get really lucky again to win here because we can almost guarantee that they’ll be the second best team on the ice by a wide margin. The Rangers fade continues.
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ANAHEIM -½ +101 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.02)