Matinee features two teams in need of win

Matinee features two teams in need of win

The Rangers’ problems at Madison Square Garden have definitely intensified throughout the winter. A quick look at the Metropolitan Division standings, though, reveals things could be a lot worse.

Fourth-place New York (32-18-1) opens a crucial homestand against Calgary this afternoon. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the Blueshirts odds of -165 to emerge victorious. Conversely, the Flames represent +135 underdogs.

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After beginning the season 8-1-0 in “The Mecca,” Alain Vigneault’s club endured a 1-5 December there. Yet the Rangers sit a not-impossible 11 points behind Metro-leading Washington. They’re coming in off a thrilling overtime triumph at Buffalo, too.

Calgary (27-24-3) can’t quite submit the same kind of résumé. Despite dispatching the Devils on Friday, Glen Gulutzan’s squad remains in a dogfight for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Flames will conclude a three-game road swing at Pittsburgh in about 60 hours.

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Right now, however, the visitors are busy strategizing their defense for Mats Zuccarello. New York’s most dangerous scorer potted his 10th goal of the campaign vs. the Sabres, and he also boasts 29 assists. Expect netminder Henrik Lundqvist to step up in a major way, as well, guiding the Rangers to glory.

 

SUNDAY NHL FREE PICK: RANGERS -1.5

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