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It’s been an uneven first quarter of the season for the Latest York Rangers. Sitting with a 9-6-4 record on the eve of their twentieth game, there are reasons to be optimistic and pessimistic in terms of the Blueshirts in 2022-23.
The excellent news is that the Rangers have posted improved their 5-on-5 metrics from last season. The bad news is that that improvement hasn’t shown up within the standings. The Blueshirts were 12-4-3 through 19 games last season, so it’s actually concerning that a team with Stanley Cup aspirations has lost more games than its won through the primary six weeks of the campaign.
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Rangers vs. Kings prediction
There are some similarities between the Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings. Each teams are off to inconsistent starts after raising expectations with surprisingly successful campaigns in 2021-22, but each clubs even have reason to feel confident that higher days are ahead.
While the Rangers currently sport a -1 goal differential at 5-on-5, their expected goals (xG) differential is closer to +8. Similarly, there’s a reasonably wide gap between the Kings’ even goal differential and their +7 xG difference.
Each the Kings and Rangers rank contained in the top 10 in shot attempt rate, expected goals percentage, and high-danger scoring likelihood share. In other words, each the Blueshirts and the Kings push play in the proper direction at 5-on-5.
Where these teams differ is in and across the goal.
After ending eighth within the NHL in shooting percentage last season, the Rangers are currently twenty ninth through the primary 19 games of 2022-23. Considering the scoring talent on this roster, you’d expect that number to tick up a bit over the course of the season.
Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles KingsGetty Images
Kaapo Kakko #24 of the Latest York RangersNHLI via Getty Images
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As for the Kings, their problem is stopping the puck, not shooting it. Los Angeles ranks twenty eighth within the NHL in save percentage, and neither Cal Petersen nor Jonathan Quick has found any semblance of form for coach Todd McLellan.
And while you’ll be able to expect the Rangers to trend up offensively, it’s a bit more complicated for the Kings’ goaltending. Quick was solid last season, but he’s been inconsistent during the last five years and is 36 years old. Petersen, who sports a -5.23 Goals Saved Above Expected in eight contests this campaign, really struggled in 2021-22 after signing a giant contract.
Immediately, these teams are pretty near equals, however the Rangers have a reasonably sizable edge in goal and that’s enough to warrant a bet on the Blueshirts on the road.
Rangers vs. Kings pick
Rangers -108 (FanDuel)