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This is a battle of top divisional seeds. New York currently leads the Metropolitan Division at 22-8-4 while the Vegas Golden Knights are holding the Pacific hostage at 22-13-1. These Rangers also enter this game on a bit of a hot streak as well. In their last three, they’ve defeated a pretty solid Oilers lineup (quite handily too 4-1) and dropped the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning in back-to-back tilts. On Thursday, they’ll go for four straight, but it won’t be easy as Vegas is still one of the best on paper.
Vegas is in a bit of a rut and sadly we don’t see them climbing out here. We like the Rangers to keep their winning ways going with a 4-2 win.
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While the New York Rangers defensively have been pretty hard to penetrate, the Golden Knights may have the answer in this one. The New Yorkers currently boast the fourth-best Goals Against Average in the league at 2.47. However, not to be outdone, Vegas is one of the hottest goal-scoring teams posting a league fourth-best 3.50 Goals Per Game. In other words, these Rangers may have truly met their match.
These Rangers have tallied 12 goals through their three-game win streak and aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. Led by Barclay Goodrow’s five points through that stretch, New York has been finding goal production from throughout their young lineup. No one man has been stealing all the headlines and that’s why this team is so good. Artermi Panarin leads in points with 36, Chris Kreider in goals with 20 and Adam Fox in assists with 30. The parity in this lineup is something special.
However, the story doesn’t end with point production. Perhaps the bigger headline stealer has been the play of goaltender Igor Shesterkin. He has 15 wins to his name along with a stellar 2.09 GAA (fourth in NHL) and .936 save percentage (second in NHL). He’s been the ace in the hole for these Rangers and could help his club knock off a first place team for the third time in a week.
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The Golden Knights have had a bit of a problem these past three games and it’s not their goal production. They’ve scored nine goals through that stretch, but still have not won a contest in 2022. Averaging three goals a night really isn’t that bad. That’s not detrimental whatsoever. It’s the ‘allowing your opponent back into the game’ part that’s been killing them. Vegas just hasn’t been able to close.
They have a fairly strong goal differential of +19, but defenders like Alec Martinez (+3) and Ben Hutton (+1) haven’t really done a good job shutting down the opposition. In other words, outside of their top pairing of Shea Theodore (+8) and Alex Pietrangelo (+5) the Golden Knights blueline has been anything, but air tight. With that in mind, a team that has great offensive production from throughout could be an issue.
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The Rangers have won seven of their last eight when playing on two days’ rest. Meanwhile, the Golden Knights have won four of their last five against Metro Division clubs.
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|New York Rangers vs Vegas Golden Knights Information
|New York Rangers vs Vegas Golden Knights
|T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
|January 6, 2022 at 10:00pm EST
|How to watch
|Sportsnet 360, NHL Network, MSG
Ryan has worked as a sports writer for the past decade and sports journalism for almost 15 years. He has worked in television, radio, print, digital, and podcasting since 2006. He is also the former co-host of the NFL Weekly Pick 'Em and Best Bets Podcast along with the Prop Drop on WSN.com.More info on Ryan Sullivan
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