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A Border State Battle Between the Devils and the Rangers on Thursday Night Hockey

The New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils are set to battle on Thursday Night Hockey on NBCSN. With puck drop set for 7:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, let’s take a look at the best bet for tonight game.

New York Rangers Outlook (+100)

The New York Rangers have played the fewest games in the league so far this season. They are the only NHL team with three games played thus far, with everyone else except the Chicago Blackhawks — who opened the season in Europe — having played five or more. After a lengthy stretch of four days off, the Rangers are ready to get rolling again.

The Rangers are coming off their only loss of the season, a 4-1 defeat to the hands of Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday afternoon. Now, after four (and a half) days off, they’re back in action against one of their biggest rivals.

The Rangers impressed early on, winning their season (and home) opener 6-4 against the Winnipeg Jets before following that up with a 4-1 win in Ottawa two nights later. They held their 2-0-0 record and 10-5 goal differential for a week before hosting the Oilers, who took care of business on the road at MSG. So this layoff is nothing new for the Rangers, but they’ll look for better results this time around.

Mika Zibanejad has powered the Rangers so far this season. He leads the team with eight points, all of which came in the team’s first two games. he had a four-point game (one goal, three assists) on opening night and followed that up with a hat trick and assist in Ottawa. However, he picked up zero points in the Rangers’ only loss.

Offseason additions Artemi Panarin (two goals, two assists) and Jacob Trouba (one goal, three assists) are tied for second on the team with four points. Rookie Kaapo Kakko scored his first NHL goal in Saturday’s loss.

New Jersey Devils Odds (-130) and Outlook (-130)

It would be an understatement to say that the New Jersey Devils have been disappointing so far this season. The Devils are winless through their first six games of the season, though they do have two points as the result of shootout losses to the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers. In their other four games, they have been outscored 20-6: a 7-2 loss, a 4-0 loss, a 3-0 loss, and a respectable 6-4 loss.

The Devils are coming off one of their best — and worst in a way — games of the season, however, as their 6-4 loss to the Panthers showed what they can do. They took a 4-1 lead early in the second period after scoring three goals in less than two minutes of gameplay, but they could not hold it. The Panthers got two back in the second period then scored three more in the third period to put it away. That game showed the Devils’ ability to score, but also their inability to hold a lead.

New Jersey had one of the best offseasons in the league, according to some pundits, but they haven’t shown themselves just yet. Taylor Hall leads the team with five points (one goal, four assists) with Pavel Zacha behind him with four points (one goal, three assists). P.K. Subban (two assists), Wayne Simmonds (one assist) and first overall pick Jack Hughes (zero points) have been disappointing.

Rangers Will Burn the Devils

For some reason, the Devils are favored in this game. Records can be thrown out to some extent in rivalry games, but the Rangers are fresh, they’re the better team, and they have the better goalie. On top of that, there shouldn’t be any rust because they’ve learned from their mistakes on Saturday.

With that being said, the Rangers +100 is a solid bet here, but if you’re feeling a bit cheeky, the alternate puck line for Rangers -1.5 (+260) would see a great return and it’s worth a look.

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