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Rangers Solid Favorites Hosting Blackhawks on Wednesday

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While it will be tough for the New York Rangers to keep winning at home at their current rate, they are catching a sagging Chicago Blackhawks team on Wednesday.

The Rangers are -150 home-ice betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com with the Blackhawks coming back at +120 in a matchup that takes place on Wednesday night. The total is 5.5. The Rangers, according to the OddsShark NHL Database, are 12-3 in their last 15 games as a home favorite. In contrast, the Blackhawks are 2-6 in their last eight road games as the underdog and have also lost four of their last five games.

Chicago is 18-14-6 overall this season, including an 8-9-4 mark away from home, but the Blackhawks have scored only seven goals in their last five games. Star forward Patrick Kane is scoring at a point-per-game pace. However, other key attackers such as as Jonathan Toews (one goal in six games) and Brandon Saad (one in seven) are struggling, and the Rangers’ defense is in the top 10 of the 31-team NHL.

Bettors probably shouldn’t put great stock in Chicago being 5-1 in its last six games after a two-day break, since their previous game on Sunday was two time zones away in Calgary.

The Blackhawks are just 2-10 in their last 12 road games against teams with a point percentage above .600 (The Rangers’ is .603). Neither of their available goalies, Jeff Glass and Anton Forsberg, has ever started a game against the Rangers.

New York is 21-13-5 overall, including a 15-6-3 record at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers, in hockey parlance, have been playing “hit the logo” lately, having scored only eight goals in their last four games despite averaging 37.5 shots in those games.

The total has gone over in five of the Rangers’ last seven home games against Western Conference teams, and a road-weary opponent without its top goalie seems conducive for team scoring leaders such as Pavel Buchnevich (six games without a goal) and Mats Zuccarello (five) to break out.

Two of the Rangers’ other scoring threats, Michael Grabner and J.T. Miller, scored goals during New York’s most recent outing, a 3-2 overtime win outdoors in the Winter Classic against the Buffalo Sabres on Monday.

Should the Rangers give the starting nod to veteran goalie Henrik Lundqvist, know that he is 6-3-2 with a 2.40 goals-against average and .921 save percentage lifetime against Chicago.

The total has gone over in the Blackhawks’ last three road games. The total has gone over in seven of the Rangers’ last 10 home games against Central Division teams.

Penguins heavy betting favorites at MSG for Wednesday night contest

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The Sidney Crosby-led Pittsburgh Penguins haven’t been this deep into minus money on the road in more than a year, but they have owned Madison Square Garden ice for years.

The Penguins are a consensus -200 road favorite on the NHL odds while the New York Rangers come back at +165 with a 6.0 total for Wednesday’s matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The OddsShark NHL Database shows this could be the lowest moneyline value the Penguins have offered on the road since February 2017, but they are 8-2 in their last 10 away games against the Rangers. Pittsburgh also has an 8-2 mark in its last 10 games as a road favorite of -180 to -500. The Rangers are 4-6 in their last 10 games as an underdog at home.

The main question with the Penguins, who are 40-26-4 as they push to finish first in the Metropolitan Division, is the tautness of their defensive zone coverage in front of their goaltender. Pittsburgh also plays the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday and the total has gone over in the Penguins’ last five games when they were slated to play the following day.

Crosby has had success (81 points in 61 games) against the Rangers over the years, while center Evgeni Malkin has eight points in his last four games.

Starting goalie Matt Murray (concussion) is traveling with the Penguins but is doubtful to play Wednesday, leaving the netminding to either Casey DeSmith or Tristan Jarry. Forward Bryan Rust (concussion) is also sidelined.

The Rangers, 31-32-7 on the year, are 4-2-1 since the NHL trade deadline, when they unloaded expensive veterans to begin retooling. Center Ryan Spooner has two goals and 13 points in eight games since coming south from Boston in the Rick Nash trade. However, along with having struggled at home against Pittsburgh, the Rangers are 2-5 in their last seven games at MSG, including 0-5 against teams presently in the NHL playoff pack.

The X-factor for New York is young goalie Alexandar Georgiev, who is 2-2 in five games with a 2.73 goals-against average and .930 save percentage. Georgiev had a 41-save winning effort against the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday.

The total has gone under in five of Pittsburgh’s last seven games in March as a road favorite. The total has also gone under in six of Pittsburgh’s last seven road games as a favorite of -180 to -500 on the moneyline. However, the total has gone over in seven of the Rangers’ last 10 games as an underdog at home.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Jockey Van Dyke bags 4th winner in row at Santa Anita

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ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Drayden Van Dyke guided City of Light to a 1 1/2-length victory in the $400,000 Triple Bend Stakes for his fourth consecutive victory at Santa Anita.

Van Dyke teamed with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert to win the first two races on Saturday’s card with Call West and McKale. Van Dyke won the third aboard 7-2 favorite Well Developed.

Trained by Michael McCarthy, City of Light ran seven furlongs in 1:21.35 and paid $4, $2.80 and $2.10 as the even-money favorite in the Grade 1 race.

Bobby Abu Dhabi returned $5.60 and $2.80, while Edwards Going Left paid $2.20 to show.

Later Saturday, Kentucky Derby hopefuls Bolt d’Oro and McKinzie, trained by Baffert, were to run in the $400,000 San Felipe.

Two other Grade 1 races are on the card, including the $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap.