The New York Rangers took a 1-0 series lead on Saturday afternoon, and they are going to look to take a 2-0 edge against the Washington Capitals in the second round of the playoffs.
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The Capitals just haven’t had a good time in this round of the playoffs over the course of the last few years, and it is really starting to grow old. The loss in Game 1 was the sixth straight loss in the conference quarterfinals, including last year’s sweep in the first round of the playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The offense just wasn’t good in Game 1, putting up just one, goal, and this unit is going to be in for a tough time trying to beat Henrik Lundqvist. Of course, it really didn’t help the fact that the team only got off 18 shots over the course of the whole game, which didn’t provide much aid for youngster, Braden Holtby. Holtby didn’t play that well, stopping just 78.6 percent of his shots in one of the worst games that he has had in the postseason, but Head Coach Dale Hunter has already given the second year man the vote of confidence that he will be in net in Game 2 for this series. However, we have a real question about Alexander Ovechkin, who played in 21 minutes on the ice, amassing just one shot and a two minute penalty.
Defense was the key for New York in the first game of this series. The team allowed just 14 shots and blocked tons of others along the way to keep Lundqvist out of the line of fire. The Vezina Trophy finalist did his job, allowing just one goal right at the end of the second period on the 18 shots that he faced. The offense really didn’t do enough in this game for the most part either, but the Rangers went on a massive blitz at the beginning of the third period in which they logged two goals in a span of just 90 seconds to take a lead that was never threatened. Chris Kreider scored the goal that proved to be the game-winner, while Brad Richards added the final tally. Artem Anisimov, a man who had just 16 goals and 20 assists this year, scored his first goal of the postseason in Game 1 of this series, and that stopped a five-game pointless streak for him dating back to Game 2 against the Ottawa Senators.
Washington Capitals @ New York Rangers Pick: The Rangers are still the real deal, and we think that they are still just being lined too short on the NHL betting lines. They’ll get the job done at home once again on the back of another great defensive effort, one which will show that Lundqvist is clearly the superior goalie left in this conference.
Free Hockey Pick: New York Rangers
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.