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Time: 7:00 PM E.T. - Wednesday
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One of the top matchups in the Thanksgiving Eve lineup for the NHL is the Eastern Conference game between the New York Rangers (12-3-1) at the Pittsburgh Penguins (9-8). This will be the first meeting of the season between the two teams after splitting the series 2-2 last year.
The Rangers have started the season as one of the most consistent teams in the league. Before losing at the Minnesota Wild 5-4 in a shootout, the Rangers won six consecutive games. They went on to win four consecutive games before losing to the Dallas Star 6-3 in their latest game.
While the Rangers are currently sitting at the top of the Metropolitan Division, the Penguins are in fifth place in one of the most competitive divisions in the league. It didn't help the Penguins that they started the season with a 3-6 overall record. After the tough start, Pittsburgh went on to win five consecutive games. They have lost two of their last three games but are coming off a stellar 3-0 win at home over the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Rangers are coming into this game with the more efficient defense, ranking third in the league in goals allowed per game (2.44). The Dallas Stars showed how vulnerable the Rangers’ defense can be.
Pittsburgh has the talent to get on the scoreboard consistently, thanks to their star players. The Penguins are ranked 12th in the league in goals per game (3.41), followed by the Rangers, who average 3.38 goals per game.
The Penguins have more consistency than earlier in the season, but the Rangers have the production since the start of the season. They are also potentially looking to avenge their tough loss to Dallas against a divisional rival.
Time: 7:00 PM E.T. - Wednesday
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Kicking off a new slate of NHL games is the matchup between the disappointing Edmonton Oilers (5-11-1) at the Carolina Hurricanes (10-7). Both teams are looking to get back in the rhythm of establishing themselves on the ice and account for wins.
The Oilers are 2-2 under interim head coach Kris Knoblauch, who took over after the firing of Jay Woodcroft. While the offense has played better, they are still one of the least effective defenses in the league. Edmonton was outscored 11-7 in their last two losses to the Florida Panthers and the Tampa Bay Lightning on the road.
The Hurricanes are in the middle of a heated Metropolitan Division. They are 2-2 in the last four games played, with losses to the Florida Panthers and the Philadelphia Flyers. They are coming off a 4-2 home win over their divisional rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
This game has the potential to be a high-scoring game based on the talent of both team's offenses and the inefficiencies of the Oilers' defense.
The Oilers continue to possess one of the worst defenses in the NHL. They are ranked 30th in the league in goals allowed per game (3.88). The Hurricanes have improved over the course of the season defensively, as they allow an average of 3.18 goals per game, 17th in the NHL.
The Oilers have improved offensively within the past few games as they are playing more efficiently than Kloblauch. They are averaging 2.94 goals per game, but the Hurricanes are still more efficient as they average 3.24 goals per game.
Time: 10:00 PM E.T. - Wednesday
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One of the final games of the night is set for a matchup between two teams in the middle of the pack in their respective conferences. The Montreal Canadiens (7-9-2) are set to go on the road to take on the Anaheim Ducks (9-9).
After a good 5-2-1 start to the season, the Canadiens went on to win only two of their next ten games. Their only wins were overtime wins over Detroit and Boston. Montreal is currently on a four-game losing streak.
The Ducks have the talent to make a statement in a loaded Western Conference. They were able to dig themselves out of a 1-4 hole by winning eight of the next ten games. They are on a three-game losing streak, with the first two losses to the Colorado Avalanche and the Florida Panthers.
Both the Canadiens and the Ducks possess talented players who can account for solid shot opportunities and goals. Montreal and Anaheim are both tied for 23rd in the league in goals per game (2.83).
The main difference in this game is the efficiency of the defenses. The Canadiens possess one of the least efficient defenses in the NHL by ranking 26th in goals allowed per game (3.56).
The Ducks are ranked 12th in goals allowed per game (3.11). One of the biggest reasons for their stellar defense is the reliability of goalie Josh Gibson, who possesses the ninth-best save percentage in the NHL (92.6%). He also has the fourth longest time on the ice out of all of the goalies ranking ranking in the top nine of save percentages.
Anaheim’s defense is going to be the huge difference-maker in this matchup where the Ducks are slight favorites over the Canadiens. This game is more than likely going to be a low-scoring game as a result. There are several attributes that will make this game a great opportunity to place bets on.
Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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