The New York Rangers are red-hot to finish the regular season, but no team seems better equipped to cool them down than the cross-town rival New York Islanders.
Despite the playoffs not being part of their itinerary this season, the boys from Long Island always give the Broadway Blueshirts a battle, making their status as NHL betting home underdogs for tonight very intriguing.
This Rangers vs. Islanders matchup has division-title implications for the road side — do our free NHL betting picks and predictions see them staying hot… or will they be done in by their hated rivals once again?
Rangers vs Islanders odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
The line opened with the visiting Rangers at -128 and the Islanders at +114 and has generally remained in that range as of 11:30 a.m. ET, with the Blueshirts ranging from -130 to -135, and the Isles anywhere from +116 to +105. This is consistent with the previous matchup in Long Island, on November 24, when the Rangers closed at -133.
The total opened at 5.5 — the closing number for each of the previous three games this year — and hasn’t moved yet either, albeit shaded to the Under.
Rangers vs Islanders predictions
Predictions made on 4/21/2022 at 11:31 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Rangers vs Islanders game info
• Location: UBS Arena, Elmont, NY
• Date: Thursday, April 21, 2022
• Puck drop: 7:30 p.m. ET
• TV: MSG+
Rangers vs Islanders betting preview
Rangers: Kaapo Kakko RW (Out), Tyler Motte LW (Out).
Islanders: Cal Clutterbuck RW (Out).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.
Rangers vs Islanders head-to-head record (since 2020)
Rangers: 3-7-1, 17 goals for.
Islanders: 8-3-0, 29 goals for.
Betting trend to know
The Under is 15-5-1 in the last 21 head-to-head meetings. Find more NHL betting trends for Rangers vs. Islanders.
Rangers vs Islanders picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
The New York Rangers were a weird team all season, always being near the top of the standings but were routinely dominated by their opponent at even strength, sitting near the bottom of the league in 5-on-5 possession metrics.
Then GM Chris Drury added solid two-way forwards in Andrew Copp and Frank Vatrano at the trade deadline — which brought balance to the top six (Vatrano skating alongside Mika Zibanejad and Chris Kreider, Copp with Artemi Panarin and Ryan Strome) and added more skill and depth to the third and fourth lines — and the Rangers have since started to look like a complete team and true Stanley Cup contender.
|5-on-5 stat||Before trade deadline||After trade deadline|
|Corsi For Percentage (league rank)||45.19 (30th)||56.36 (5th)|
|Shots for per 60 min (league rank)||26.6 (31st)||30.39 (14th)|
|Expected goals against per 60 min (league rank)||2.65 (26th)||2.00 (T-1st)|
All stats courtesy of Natural Stat Trick
The Rangers still posted an impressive 40-18-5 record, despite the poor even-strength play, thanks to a power play that ranked second in the league and goaltender Igor Shesterkin putting up historically good numbers in what should be a landslide victory for the Vezina Trophy.
Well, the Rangers are still converting at a high rate with the man advantage and New York is still getting elite goaltending… but now they’re carrying the play at 5-on-5, they look more convincing on the ice, going 10-1-2 over their last 13 games, 6-1 in their last seven, and enter tonight riding a three-game shutout streak.
The Islanders head into tonight’s game losing five of their last eight, but they’ve faced a tough schedule that included Florida, Toronto, Pittsburgh (twice), St. Louis, and Carolina.
The Isles haven’t been particularly strong in terms of puck possession in this stretch… or the last month overall. Over their last 15 games, they have finished a game with a positive 5-on-5 CF% just twice — posting a 42.45 CF% overall (dead last in the league), 3.45 xGA/60 (also last), and only squeezing out the wins they have because goaltender Ilya Sorokin has a .946 SV% (fourth) and 7.75 goals saved above average (third) at 5-on-5 during this span.
Unfortunately for the Isles, it will actually be Semyon Varlamov starting tonight. He shut out the Rangers on April 1, but has conceded 20 goals in his five most recent other starts, and faces a Blueshirts offense that has scored three-plus goals in 12 of its last 14 games — and will have the goaltending advantage tonight — regardless of if it’s Shesterkin or backup Alexandar Georgiev.
The Blueshirts are expected to send Georgiev out tonight (with Igor likely tabbed to face the Bruins on Saturday), but the 26-year-old netminder has stopped 53 of his last 54 shots faced, with just one goal allowed over his last two outings, as he’s playing his best hockey of the season in winning six straight starts.
Also on the line for the Rangers is a shot at the Metropolitan Division crown. They are currently tied with the Hurricanes at 106 points, and securing the division title would also guarantee at least two rounds of home-ice advantage in the playoffs.
While the Islanders will undoubtedly be motivated to play spoiler for their cross-town rivals, there’s more on the line for the Blueshirts. Add in that they’re playing better overall hockey as well, and we’ll lean with the favorite to sneak a road win tonight.
Prediction: Rangers moneyline (-130 at PointsBet)
One thing’s for sure: Any time the Rangers and Islanders square off, it’s bound to be a low-scoring game with a playoff-like intensity. That happens when you have teams that exist about 20 miles away from each other.
The battle of New York has not seen a total greater than 5.5 since January 16, 2021 — 10 games ago in this series. But why do these teams rarely see a higher number? Because, despite the endless string of 5.5 totals, these games continue to print money for Under bettors.
The Under is a perfect 3-0 this year, plus has cashed in five straight head-to-head matchups and hit in 10 of the last 11 games dating back to last season.
More recently, the Under has also cashed in three straight Rangers games (not surprising as they haven’t allowed a goal in any of those contests) and is 5-1-1 in their last seven.
The Islanders’ offense isn’t terribly threatening right now, hitting the four-goal mark just once in their last eight games (2.34 per game average).
The Rangers have been much more consistent in the goal-scoring department, but they have struggled to rack up goals against the Isles. The Rags have scored just one total goal in the last two matchups, and have scored multiple goals just once in the last six meetings.
We do think they’ll score a couple of goals tonight… but it won’t be a big number — while we don’t see the Islanders lighting up the scoreboard either.
Prediction: Under 5.5 (-116 at BetRivers)
We’re leaning with the Rangers to win — plus a low-scoring game — but we’re much more confident in the total going Under 5.5 than we are the Blueshirts emerging victorious.
Recent history isn’t exactly on the Rangers’ side, as the Islanders have actually won six of the last seven head-to-head meetings. While we do think the Blueshirts’ recent form — and added motivation of having something tangible on the line — gives them the edge tonight, we do think each team’s style and expected game script favors a low-scoring contest… which stays on-brand for the recent history of NYR+NYI=Under.
The last 10 games of the series have seen an average of 54.5 total shots on goal per game, with this season’s three matchups seeing just 48.3 sog/game — both well below the 2021-22 league average of 63.1 per contest. Factor in two strong goaltenders between the pipes, and we think the safest play tonight is banking on a quiet night for the scorekeepers.
Pick: Under 5.5 (-116 at BetRivers)
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