The top-seeded New York Rangers host the rival New Jersey Devils tonight, Monday May 14th, for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals at Madison Square Garden. The Devils and Rangers met six times during the regular season and each team won three of those tilts. New York held a slight advantage in goals, scoring 14 times in the season series while holding the Devils to 12 tallies over the six contests. NHL oddsmakers have installed the Rangers as -125 moneyline home favorites over the Devils (+115) with the over/under set at 4.5 goals. Be sure to check the New Jersey Devils vs New York Rangers Eastern Conference Finals Game 1 2012 NHL Playoff Odds before they drop the puck.
New Jersey (8-4, 4-3 V) is coming off a five-game series rout of the Flyers in the conference semifinals and the sixth-seeded Devils are in the third round for the first time since winning the last of the franchise’s three Stanley Cup titles in 2003. The Devils went seven games in the opening round against Florida.
New Jersey has posted 36 goals in 12 playoff games this season and 32 of those markers have come from the Devils’ impressive group of forwards. Top-line center Travis Zajac is tied with Kovalchuk for the team lead this spring with five goals and winger Zach Parise has four goals and four assists.
Goalie Martin Brodeur is still manning the crease for the Devils and he rebounded nicely against the Flyers after struggling a bit in the opening round against Florida. The 40-year-old backstop has a 2.05 goals-against average and .920 save percentage in 12 outings this spring. Overall, the future Hall of Fame goaltender is 107-85 with a 2.01 GAA and 24 shutouts over 193 career playoff games.
Marty Brodeur started all six games against New York this season and went 3-3 with a shutout and a 1.99 GAA. Henrik Lundqvist was 3-2 with a 1.41 GAA and one shutout over five appearances against the Devils.
New York (8-6, 5-3 H) won a decisive Game 7 against the seventh-seeded Washington Capitals on Saturday. New York notched a 2-1 victory over the visiting Caps to earn their first trip to the conference final since 1997. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves, while Brad Richards and Michael Del Zotto posted the goals for the Rangers, who also needed seven games to eliminate eighth-seeded Ottawa in Round 1.
The Rangers have scored a total of 29 goals through 14 games this postseason. While that’s not exactly an impressive offensive output, New York has only surrendered 26 goals this postseason for a stingy average of 1.86 goals allowed per game. Lundqvist went 39-18-5 with a 1.97 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in 2011-12 and he also posted eight shutouts during the regular season. Lundqvist has stopped 371-of-396 shots in the postseason for a 1.68 GAA and .937 save percentage.
Fatigue could be a factor at the start of this series, as the Devils will have had five full days of rest between the two rounds compared to one off day for the Rangers.
The Bottom Line: It will be a close low scoring game, but you have to give the Rangers home ice advantage. Lundqvist is playing better than Brodeur. Want to dominate the books this season with some of the best NHL Picks Experts in the business? Then sign up right now and get NHL Picks Free!
Recent Trends to Consider:
Home team is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
Under is 5-2-1 in the last 8 meetings in New York.
Devils are 2-5 in the last 7 meetings in New York.
Devils are 4-0 in their last 4 vs. Atlantic.
Devils are 4-0 in their last 4 vs. a team with a winning record.
Devils are 4-0 in their last 4 overall.
Devils are 4-0 in their last 4 vs. Eastern Conference.
Rangers are 7-1 in their last 8 Monday games.
Rangers are 5-1 in their last 6 when their opponent allows 2 goals or less in their previous game.
Rangers are 5-1 in their last 6 after scoring 2 goals or less in their previous game.
Rangers are 4-1 in their last 5 playoff games as a favorite of -110 to -150.
New Jersey Devils vs New York Rangers
When: Monday, May 14th@8:00 PM EST
Pick: Rangers -125
Point-Spreads recommends you check the New Jersey Devils vs New York Rangers 2012 NHL Playoff Odds before they drop the puck.