Kings vs Rangers Picks and Predictions: New York Should Win, First Period Remains Uneventful

The Kings visit Madison Square Garden tonight for the second half of a back-to-back. While we like the Rangers to pull out the win, our NHL betting picks highlight the best value on the Blueshirts — and why you should not expect much offense early.

Last Updated: Jan 24, 2022 5:28 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
New York Rangers Chris Kreider NHL
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Kings kicked off an East Coast road trip with a win yesterday against New Jersey and will stay in the Tri-State Area for a matchup tonight with the New York Rangers.

The Rangers are coming off a rather interesting weekend but have won five of their last seven games and are big NHL betting favorites tonight versus the Kings, who snapped a three-game skid with last night's victory.

Here are our best free NHL picks and predictions for Kings vs. Rangers on Monday, January 24.

Kings vs Rangers odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The line opened at New York -155/LA +135, with the Rangers now sitting from -155 to -165 and the Kings ranging from +130 to +140 — a massive swing from the previous meeting two weeks ago, which closed Kings -108/Rangers -102 in Los Angeles. The total remains at the opening mark of 5.5, shaded toward the Over.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until puck drop and be sure to check out the full NHL odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Kings vs Rangers predictions

Predictions made on 1/24/2022 at 11:06 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Kings vs Rangers game info

Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Date: Monday, January 24, 2022
Puck drop: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: MSG+, Bally Sports West

Kings vs Rangers betting preview

Key injuries

Kings: Andreas Athanasiou C (Out).
Rangers: Filip Chytil C (Day to Day), Kaapo Kakko RW (Out).
Find our latest NHL injury reports.

Kings vs Rangers head-to-head record (Since 2019)

Kings: 2-1-0, 7 goals for.
Rangers: 1-2-0, 6 goals for.

Betting trend to know

The Over is 5-1 in the Kings' last six games as an underdog. Find more NHL betting trends for Kings vs. Rangers.

Kings vs Rangers picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

To say it was a weird weekend for the Rangers is, well, an understatement. New York went into first-place Carolina on Friday night, surprisingly chose to start backup goalie Alexandar Georgiev, and promptly got spanked 6-3 in a game where it was outplayed in every facet of the game. The Rangers played the next night at home against the last-place Coyotes, with No. 1 Igor Shesterkin between the pipes, and fell behind 3-1 midway through the second period...then scored six unanswered goals in the final 30 minutes to come away with a 7-3 win.

The sluggish start could be somewhat attributed to the Rangers not arriving home until 4:15 a.m. Saturday morning (because of weather delays in leaving North Carolina). But despite the sluggish start, the reality is New York has still won four straight home games and is one of the best home teams in the league overall, boasting an .800 win percentage at Madison Square Garden this season.

With two days off until their next game, New York will likely go with Shesterkin again tonight, who has won six straight starts and 10 of his last 11, which should set up a battle of No. 1 netminders as the Kings are likely to counter with veteran Jonathan Quick.

Originally expected to cede the main goaltending duties to Cal Petersen going into the season, Quick has had a resurgence, with his 2.56 goals-against average and .914 save percentage his best numbers since the 2017-18 season — and also besting those of Petersen, who started yesterday's win against the Devils.

However, the 36-year-old Quick is in a bit of a slump right now, going 2-3 with a 3.45 GAA and .867 SV% in January, but the Kings have been playing great 5 on 5 possession hockey in front of him, sitting first in Corsi For Percentage this month (per Natural Stat Trick) and getting leading goal scorer Adrian Kempe back yesterday following a brief COVID-related absence.

What will haunt LA, however, is the special teams matchup: since January 1, the Rangers are seventh in both power-play percentage and penalty-kill prowess, while the Kings are 23rd with the man advantage and 29th at killing shorthanded opportunities.

When these teams played two weeks ago in Los Angeles, the Kings were slight home favorites with Petersen (who's had better January numbers than Quick) and Georgiev in nets. Switch to New York, where the Rangers have their Vezina Trophy frontrunner in net against a struggling Quick, and the matchup went from a 52.38% implied probability to the favorites to New York carrying just over a 62% probability to win.

We don't want to lay that much juice on the New York moneyline, considering LA's strong possession metrics (compared to the Rangers having the second-worst shot share rate in 2022) makes us believe this game should be closer than the prices indicate, but the Blueshirts' strong home play and massive goaltending advantage has us hesitant to bet on the Kings outright as well.

Considering the price for the Kings to keep it close is also a juiced-up -175 on the +1.5 reverse puck line, the best value tonight is for the Rangers to come away with a regulation win — where you're getting even money.

Prediction: Rangers 3-way moneyline (+100)

The Kings have seen the Over cash in six of Quick's last eight starts, giving up at least four goals in five of those matchups, and now will try to slow down a Rangers team that has cashed the Over in three straight games and has scored at least three goals in 10 of their last 12 contests.

The offensive output for New York has really ramped up at home during that stretch, averaging 5.25 goals per game (second in the NHL). Further supporting more offense (especially on the New York side) is that the Los Angeles' penalty kill, which we mentioned above was bad, is only killing 65.4% of penalties this month — and Quick is boasting a deplorable .647 shorthanded SV% with -3.61 goals saved above average in shorthanded situations.

Put that up against the Rangers' power play, which is clicking at a 27.6% efficiency rate since the calendar flipped to 2022 and has four power-play goals in their last two games, and we should get enough offense to carry us Over the 5.5 total tonight.

Prediction: Over 5.5 (-110)

Despite being in a winning stretch, the Rangers have been plagued by terrible opening periods. New York has held a lead going into the first intermission just once in its last eight games, in large part because the offense has managed four goals in those eight first periods.

Thankfully for New York, the Kings have also been rather poor in the first 20 minutes, managing just six first-period goals in their last nine games — including a 0-0 score after the opening frame when these two clubs previously met in Los Angeles.

If you want to go on the full-season scale, the Rangers are 23rd with just 28 first-period goals in 42 games, while the Kings are 30th with 24 goals (also in 42 games).

With the Kings on the second half of a back-to-back not doing the offense any favors, plus the Rangers really struggling over their last few opening frames, we're not banking on a lot of fireworks in the first period tonight.

Pick: First period Under 1.5 (-105)

NHL parlays

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