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NY Post
New York Post
18 Nov 2023


NextImg:Rangers vs. Devils prediction: NHL odds, picks, best bets

The Devils are still the same quick transition, high-danger scoring team they were a season ago.

It’s really been the injuries and goaltending hiccups that have hindered their record.

The absence of Jack Hughes — who has missed five consecutive games because of a shoulder injury — has been conspicuous.

Hughes was notching two points a game until his last appearance on Nov. 3.

The electric center was cleared to practice and is trending toward playing against the Rangers in Newark on Saturday.

But even without Hughes or Nico Hischier, New Jersey has boasted some loud metrics.

They’re a top-five club in puck possession at five-on-five and are hammering 32.5 total shots on goal.

Tyler Toffoli is presenting a sturdy case as the offseason’s best signing. He has netted 8.3 expected goals, which places him at No. 7 overall.

Toffoli’s line with Jesper Bratt and Michael McLeod has formed seamlessly to conjure a 73.7 percent expected goals rate, making them one of the game’s most dangerous lines.

For all that’s worth, New Jersey goaltending just can’t stop a beach ball right now.

It’s yielding a league-worst 3.73 goals, which is jarring in contrast to a 1.96 expected goals against average.

Artemi Panarin

Artemi Panarin
Getty Images

Vitek Vanecek and Akira Schmid have combined to deny only 87.6 percent of shots on net; both of them are a couple of goals below zero in goals saved above expected.

So you can imagine why 12 of 15 Devils games have hit the Over.

Now, what does this all mean for a Rangers team that’s acquired at least one point in 10 straight games (9-0-1)?

New York has been sustaining success without the likes of Adam Fox, Igor Shesterkin or Filip Chytil in the lineup.

They have been arguably the hardest team to score on in the NHL allowing 1.86 expected goals per game.

Beyond that, the Rangers’ special teams units have been converting at an elite rate, their shooting percentage places them at sixth overall and Artemi Panarin is on pace to seize the franchise’s points-in-a-season record.

While everything is going right for the Rangers, they just had five days off.

It’s given them a chance to gain some health back, but at the cost of potentially disrupting their mojo.

Saturday’s resume will feature the sharpest challenge of their season yet. Buckle in for a fast one.

The play: Rangers-Devils Over 6.5 Goals (+100, DraftKings).