This article is part of our NHL Picks series.
NHL Bets for March 18: Free NHL Picks and Game Props for Penguins vs. Rangers
The Pittsburgh Penguins (34-24-10) play the second-end of a back-to-back set against the New York Rangers (39-19-10) on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, with the puck drop scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.
The Rangers picked up a 4-2 victory in the first meeting on Thursday, as Igor Shesterkin turned aside 30 of the 32 shots he faced. Tristan Jarry wasn't terrible, allowing three goals on 34 shots.
Mika Zibanejad picked up his 35th goal with a goal just 2:51 into the game, and that's how the score would stay until late in the second period. Rickard Rakell answered for the Pens, but Tyler Motte scored an unassisted goal to restore the lead heading to the room after two periods.
In the third, Jake Guentzel leveled the game again, potting his 30th goal of the season, as Sidney Crosby posted the primary assist, and Rakell added his second point of the game on the secondary assist. Sid the Kid has 54 helpers to date.
Chris Kreider grabbed the game-winning goal, netting his 29th goal at 11:45 of the third period, and he put a bow on the scoring with an empty-net goal, his 30th of the season. Vincent Trocheck had primary on both of Kreider's goal, while Zibanejad added his 37th helper for his second point of the evening.
Jarry (20-8-6, 2.96 GAA, .910 SV%, 1 SO) and Shesterkin (31-11-7, 2.63 GAA, .910 SV%, 1 SO) are expected to run it back Saturday night at MSG.
The Penguins have dropped four consecutive trips to MSG, while the home team is 19-7 in the past 26 meetings, and the favorite is 35-16 in the previous 51 encounters in this series. There is no reason to go contrarian and bet the Pens. The Rangers are the better team, and they'll show it again on Saturday.
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NHL Money Line Bets for Penguins vs. Rangers
- Rangers ML (-150 at BetMGM)
The Penguins has managed to light the lamp 22 times across the past six games, while averaging 4.5 goals per game (GPG) across the previous 10 outings. Offense hasn't been a problem, but Pittsburgh has also allowed four or more goals in six of the past eight outings.
For the Rangers, they've picked up nine goals in the past two games, while allowing just nine goals in the past four contests. As a result, the Under has cashed in three of those four outings, including two games against Pittsburgh.
The Under is 4-1 in the past five on the road for the Pens, while cashing at a 12-5-3 clip in the past 20 games against Metropolitan Division teams.
While the Over is 6-2 in the past eight games at MSG for the Rangers, the Under is 5-1 in the past six games after a straight-up victory.
Lean low in this rematch, since the Under has cashed in both of the previous outings in the past week.
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NHL Totals Bets for Penguins vs. Rangers
- Under 6.5 (-110 at FanDuel)
NHL Game Props for Penguins vs. Rangers
Checking out the game props for this rematch, there are a couple of enticing options on both sides.
It's a little on the expensive side, but playing Under 2 goals in the first period is a good idea in this trilogy matchup.
In the past two meetings since March 12, we saw a single goal in Thursday's meeting in the first period, while we had two goals in the first period at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday. As these teams know each other well, we should see the defenses and goaltenders limit the scoring in all periods, including the first.
- Under 2 Goals - First Period (-185 at BetMGM)
As far as the second period is concerned, will both teams score one or more goals in the second period is an attractive play. We saw one goal by each team in the second period Thursday, with a single goal in last Sunday's battle. Again, this should be a lower-scoring game, and playing no on both teams scoring is the play.
- Will both teams score 1 or more goals in the 2nd Period - NO (-155 at BetMGM)