New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals Free NHL Pick 12/28/11
The Washington Capitals really have some work to do to get back in the playoff race in the Eastern Conference, and they’ll try to do just that on Wednesday night in NHL betting action when they take on the New York Rangers at the Verizon Center.
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If the playoffs were to start today, the Rangers would be the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The real difference this year came in the form of Brad Richards, who has finally emerged as the big time offensive star that this team just had to get at some point. Richards has 12 goals and 14 assists on the campaign, and though he isn’t leading the team in scoring, he has clearly opened up a ton of opportunities. Youngsters like Ryan Callahan, Derek Stepan, and Artem Anisimov have really come up strong this year, as they all have at least 22 points on the campaign. We already know that Henrik Lundqvist was going to be remarkable once again this season, and getting an offense that can average 3.0 goals per game as they are this year is the equation for the Rangers. New York has won five straight games and has scored at least three goals in five in a row and has allowed two goals or fewer in eight out of nine.
The Capitals really need to start to head in the right direction, or they are going to be in a heck of a lot of trouble this year. They allowed four goals in the first period against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night, and they ended up losing 4-3. The team hasn’t strung back to back wins together since the beginning of December. Washington is only averaging 2.9 goals per game, but the real concern is the defense, which is allowing even more than that at 3.0 goals per game. Alexander Ovechkin is only good for 25 points this year, and he is a -8 in +/-. He really should be good for at least 35-40 points at this point in the campaign, and he and his line mates just aren’t getting the job done. Until that changes, this season isn’t going to get any better. Ovie does have a point in three straight games, but he has had two points in a game since November 4th. He also hasn’t scored three points in a game all season long.
New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals Pick: Even though this game is in DC, we just don’t see how the Rangers are going to end up flopping in the form that they are in at this point. New York is in fine form, and the Caps aren’t, and knowing that the oddsmakers are probably going to make Washington the favorite is all the more reason why we want to back the boys from the Big Apple.
Free Hockey Pick: New York Rangers
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