New Jersey (3-3) at NY Rangers (3-3)
When: Monday, May 1st 2023
Where: Prudential Center,
Time: 8:00 ET | TV: TBS
Opening Odds: New Jersey -120/5.5
It all comes down to one game for the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils. The first round series between these two Eastern Conference rivals had been dominated by the road team until the last two games. The Devils, after winning Game 5 at home, had a chance to ice the series on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers had difference plans, coming away with a convincing 5-2 win to force the winner-take-all contest on Monday night.
Things started off quite well for the Devils on Saturday with the games first goal 11:49 into the first period. But the Rangers responded with a power play goal with just 25 seconds remaining in the period and never looked back. The Devils have the luxury of playing a Game 7 at home, but the Rangers did take the first two games at Prudential Center to begin the series. The NHL odds have New Jersey as a -120 favorite with a total of 5.5.
Gerard Gallant’s Rangers came back from first and second round series deficits in 2022 over the Penguins and Hurricanes, so they are no strangers to adversity. Chris Kreider snapped New York’s 0-for-14 power-play drought with a goal, while Mika Zibanejad and Vladimir Tarasenko recorded goals on Saturday. The winner faces Carolina in the second round.
It looked as if the Rangers were going to run away with the series after dominating the Devils in Newark over the first two games. But the team could on muster two total goals in losing Games 3 and 4 at home and then were shutout in Game 5. Kreider’s power play goal late in the first period tied the game and got the Madison Square Garden crowd back in it.
Kreider has six goals with three assists this postseason and has scored 16 goals in elimination games – tying former Ranger Mark Messier for the most in NHL history. New York is 20-8 when Kreider plays in an elimination game. Igor Shesterkin has a 1.79 goals-against average and .939 save percentage during the series.
Scoring first is usually a recipe for winning games, but the Devils have lost twice this series when tallying first. The Devils had the fourth-highest offense in the NHL during the regular season, but have scored more than three goals just once this series. Timo Meier has 24 shots on goal in the series and zero points.
Akira Schmid stopped 80 of 82 shots and recorded one shutout in his first three playoff appearances while starting Games 3 through 5. However, he was pulled Saturday after allowing five goals on 29 shots. Vitek Vanecek, who allowed nine goals on 52 shots in the first two games of the series, took over. Vanecek could be an option for Monday.
$750 NHL Betting Bonus! (US CUSTOMERS ONLY)
I think the Rangers were the better team coming into the series and it looked great after Game 2. But the Devils have been resilient. I don’t think home ice matters much in this series and the Rangers still have the edge in my opinion. The offense came alive in Game 6 and that will carry over to Game 7.
Pick: Rangers +110