Last year, the New York Rangers were just able to eke past the Washington Capitals in the NHL playoffs. For the second time this year, the two will be on the ice together in NHL betting action in NBC’s Sunday showdown.
The Rangers watched their four-game winning streak go by the boards on Friday night with a loss at the hands of the Ottawa Senators. This is a very important four-game road trip for a team that has played significantly more games at home (15) than on the road (8) thus far on the campaign. New York needs to prove that it can win some of these games on enemy ice, and taking down the Caps in DC would be a huge step in the right direction. G Henrik Lundqvist has been playing well of late, allowing just a total of nine goals in his last five games after allowing eight in his previous four. He really didn’t play all that poorly against the Ottawa Senators in spite of the fact that he allowed three goals. The defense didn’t do well in that one, subjecting Lundqvist to 39 shots on goal. If that doesn’t improve in this one, it’s going to be tough to see how the Rangers get two points.
Washington is another one of these teams that was hot, having won three straight and five out of six, but that streak also came to a close in the team’s most recent game. Friday afternoon’s loss to the New York Islanders wasn’t the end of the world, especially knowing that the team’s third goalie, G Philipp Grubauer was making his first career start at this level. He allowed five goals in the game, but his defense didn’t help him out either, letting him face 45 shots on goal. It should be back to G Braden Holtby on Sunday afternoon, as he was clearly being saved for this game against the far superior foes. It shouldn’t be all that surprising that as LW Alexander Ovechkin has gone, so too have gone the Caps. In Washington’s last five wins, Ovie has four goals and six assists. In the team’s last two losses, the Russian star didn’t get on the stat sheet.
This is a tough one to handicap. Until the Rangers prove to us that they can come on the road and win games though, they are going to be a tough side to back. Not only has Washington been playing well, but it has been playing well against some of the best teams in the Eastern Conference as well. Don’t be shocked if this one ends in a mild upset on Sunday afternoon.
New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals Pick: Washington Capitals +108