After duking it out for three overtimes on Wednesday night, the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals are going at it once again in NHL betting action in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Saturday on NBC.
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The Rangers really looked like they were going to be in a heck of a lot of trouble over the course of the first round of the playoffs when they fell behind the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in that best of seven series. Since that point, they have rolled off four wins in five games, including finding a way to get the job done in that three OT thriller here at the Verizon Center on Wednesday. New York did look like the slightly better team for the majority of the game, but the advantage, if there was one, was small at best. The third overtime really made the Rangers stand out, and they got the goal that they deserved with just 5:19 left on the clock before yet another intermission. Marian Gaborik and Brad Richards did just a fantastic job of getting the puck into the Washington zone when there didn’t look to be a heck of a lot there, and Richards, from behind the net, found Gaborik, who was good enough to get the puck through the five hole and into the back of the net to give the Rangers the 2-1 series edge.
If we were Braden Holtby, we would definitely be a bit upset with the rest of our team. Holtby has a 1.76 GAA here in the playoffs, a remarkable number for a man that is playing in the playoffs for the first time and only had 14 games worth of NHL experience before about a month and a half ago when he was forced into action due to injuries. Had Michal Neuvirth or any of the other goalies in the immediate past put up those types of numbers two, three, and four years ago, the Capitals would clearly already have at least one Stanley Cup to their name. This year though, Holtby just can’t get any help from his offense. The team scored just one goal in nearly two full games worth of action on Wednesday night, and though we do know that it is tough going against Henrik Lundqvist, the man that is surely going to win the Vezina Trophy this year, there is still really no excuse. Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, men that would traditionally be capable of 100+ points in a season, have been totally MIA in this series and in the playoffs as a whole, and without them, the Caps just don’t have a shot.
New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals Pick: Holtby is literally doing everything but standing on his head in this series, and it is starting to really show. He is playing like a stud out there, and we think that he is due for some good fortune. Back Washington on the NHL betting lines on Saturday afternoon, and don’t be shocked if Holtby gets his first career playoff shutout in the duel.
Free Hockey Pick: Washington Capitals
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.