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NHL Picks - A Goalie Switch Has Given Us an NHL Winner

The New York Rangers have been a team going through something of an emotional roller-coaster. And to the extent that he has held things together, coach David Quinn hasn't done a bad job.

The problem has thus far been inconsistency, as this team hasn't been able to follow up great efforts. This pattern may indeed point us in the direction of a winning play at America's Bookie, as they take on the Buffalo Sabres in a game at Madison Square Garden.

Buffalo Sabres at New York Rangers Picks

When: 7:05 PM ET (Tuesday)

NHL Betting Odds:

Money Line: Rangers -145, Sabres +125

Puck Line: Rangers -1.5 Goals (+161), Sabres +1.5 Goals (-194)

Total: Over 5.5 Goals +100, Under 5.5 Goals -120

The Rangers (7-9-3 for 18 points) have already been through a lot of drama. The situation with Tony DeAngelo was pretty serious, as his tendency toward violence led to a confrontation with goaltender Alexander Georgiev, which in turn led to his release.

And the Blueshirts have had to go without leading scorer Artemi Panarin, who is going through a bizarre situation where a former coach of his in the KHL (Russia) has accused him of being guilty of a sexual assault. It is no coincidence that Panarin, who had 32 goals for the Rangers last season, has had the charges leveled against him after he was so critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin, something that is very unusual.

So he has taken a leave of absence to deal with these personal issues.

The Rangers whipped the Boston Bruins 6-2 on Friday, in what was their best all-around offensive performance of the season, coming against the East leaders. They had six different goal scorers, and 13 different players had points (goal or assist).

But then they turned around and dropped a 4-1 decision against them on Sunday. In that game, Georgiev stopped 31 of 33 shots, but had to leave with what was termed an "upper body injury." So Igor Shesterkin had to finish up. Quinn had been going with Georgiev because he considered him to be the "hot hand," but Shesterkin actually has better numbers, namely a .917 save percentage and 2.44 goals-against. So we do not consider the Rangers to be in bad shape between the pipes.

If the Rangers are handicapped at all in this game, it is in special teams, where they have converted on only 15% of their power play opportunities, while Buffalo is a very respectable 31%. But will the Sabres be able to stop the puck well enough?

Buffalo (6-10-3 record with 15 points, 8th in the East) is slated to use Carter Hutton in goal. He has come away victorious in only one of his starts this season, and his save percentage is down below the 90% mark (.896). Hutton has allowed four goals twice to the offensively-challenged new Jersey Devils.

Neither of these teams can be classified as a juggernaut. In fact, the Rangers have a shooting percentage in even-strength situations of 6.6%, which is extremely low. But the Sabres come in even lower than that - last in the NHL, in fact, at 4.7%.

We consider it to be a tangible edge to have Shesterkin there. So we side with the favored Rangers.


About the Author

Charles Jay is unlike most analysts associated with handicapping and the gaming industry, in that he also has had extensive experience in the so-called "mainstream" media as well.

He has been involved with professional sports industry for almost two decades, working in all capacities, as a matchmaker, booking agent, manager, and also as an editorial consultant on USA Network's "Tuesday Night Fights," which, for a time, carried "Charles Jay's Line" on upcoming fights. As a broadcaster, he has called world title fights around the world for various outlets, and has served as a color commentator for Sunshine Network and Prime Network.

His radio experience includes being the host of numerous programs, including "Sportswatch with Charles Jay" on KDWN in Las Vegas, "Total Action" on WAXY 790 in Miami, and "Charles Jay's Winning Edge", syndicated into 55 markets by the American Radio Networks, and he's done podcasts on all subjects related to sports, gaming and popular culture.

Working within the casino industry, he has a special events consultant for Casino Magic in Mississippi, as that venue established itself in the early 1990s as a hotbed of boxing activity in particular. Prior to this, he had been engaged as a casino gaming columnist for, among others, Casino Player, Card Player and Sports Form (now known as Gaming Today), specializing in blackjack. And later on, his investigative series on boxing, entitled "Operation Cleanup," won him much critical acclaim, including the 2003 "Dignity" Award, in the category of "Best Sports Writer," as bestowed by the Retired Boxers Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to rendering assistance to ex-fighters in need.

In 2006 he established a content services division of his company, which has eventually evolved in JayWords, and he is arguably the world's most prolific sports & gaming writer, with over 20,000 articles to his credit, the vast majority of which have been sports handicapping pieces. So you might say he has analyzed as many sporting events as anyone alive during this period. He has also brought some interest with his so-called "gimmick" odds on special events, including the Academy Awards, the NFL Draft, and the Super Bowl, for which he posted dozens and dozens of different odds propositions with various sportsbooks.

This renaissance man is a winner of the Retired Boxers Foundation's "Dignity Award" and a member of the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame; graduate of the University of Miami (Florida) who currently resides in the South Florida area.