After literally blowing Game 5 right at the death, the Washington Capitals are going to be back in action on Wednesday facing a do or die situation against the New York Rangers.
The Rangers haven’t always been the luckiest here in the playoffs, but in the end, they got the break that they needed and capitalized in a big time way on it at the end of Game 5. The power play, which had basically been as good as a power failure over the course of the first four games of this series, had just over a half minute to be able to score to save the game two nights ago, and it did just that, getting a goal in that period of time to send the soiree into OT. It didn’t take long in the extra frame, as the second half of that double minor turned to gold as well. Henrik Lundqvist had to be relieved, as he really didn’t face that much pressure with 18 shots against, and he really should have won that game from the get go. It is games like these over the course of the last few years in which Lundqvist couldn’t win if he wasn’t at his best, but now that he has a team in front of him that has some offensive firepower, the Rangers have a great chance to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals this year.
It’s going to be hard for the Caps to get off of the mat in this one. They had Game 5 dead to rights before a high sticking penalty by Joel Ward put the game in flux. What should have been a 2-1 win became a 3-2 loss in the blink of an eye, and there was nothing that Ward could have done about the whole thing, as he was sitting in the penalty box. The sad thing for Ward is that he really was (and still is) having a great postseason. For a man that had just 18 points in the regular season, Ward has done well here in the playoffs, coming up with a goal and four assists in the 12 games. His contributions, proportionately speaking, have been a heck of a lot greater than those of Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, both of which have really struggled at times to stay consistent as offensive stars. Of course, the real question here is whether we have seen the end of Braden Holtby or not. The youngster has done a remarkable job here in the playoffs, but he ended up hitting the self-destruct button in Game 5. Will he be able to bounce back? If not, he won’t make it through this game.
The Final Word: Give Washington credit for fighting hard against the defending champs and the best team in the postseason here in the playoffs, but in the end, it just isn’t going to have the oomph to get over the hump to get the job done here. We give the nod to the Rangers, who we think at this price, are clearly the right team to back on the NHL odds.
New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals Pick: New York Rangers +100
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.