The New York Rangers will host the Washington Capitals tonight, Saturday April 28th, for the third time in four years as Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals begin. The teams split four games during the regular season, with team earning a victory in the other’s building. NHL oddsmakers have installed the Rangers as -160 moneyline home favorites over the Capitals (+150) with the over/under set at 5 goals. Be sure to check the Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers Game 1 2012 NHL Playoff Odds before they drop the puck.
Washington (4-3, 3-1 V) eliminated Boston in seven thanks to Joel Wards overtime winner. Rookie Braden Holtby stopped 31 shots for Washington in Game 7 — the seventh one-goal game of the series. Matt Hendricks scored the Capitals’ other goal. Last year, Ward was a playoff standout for the Nashville Predators, racking up seven goals and 13 points in 12 games after a mediocre regular season. “The reason we signed him was because of his great playoff success last season in Nashville. He wasn’t the most fantastic player this season, he didn’t really deliver, but there’s something in that guy’s head that makes him step up during that playoffs. We love him for it.”
These two teams know each other well, but the scenario was quite different last year, when the top-seed Capitals knocked out the eighth-place Rangers 4-1 in a first-round matchup.
The Capitals earned more than 100 points in the previous three seasons, leading the NHL with 121 in 2010, but had little to show for it once the post-season started. They won just two series over that span and have not made it out of the Eastern Conference semifinals since 1998, when they made it to the Stanley Cup finals but were swept by Detroit.
New York (4-3, 2-2 H) pushed Ottawa to a seventh game and won 2-1. New York defencemen Marc Staal and Dan Girardi gave the Rangers a two-goal lead in the second period, and goalie Henrik Lundqvist bent but didn’t break as the Rangers held on for the win Thursday night.
The Rangers and Caps met four times this season. Scoring slightly favours the Caps, 13-11. Henrik Lundvist went 2-1 for the Rangers, allowing nine goals with a save percentage of .859. New York’s leading scorer was Ryan Callahan, with 1-4-5. Braden Holtby went 1-0, allowing 1 goal with a save percentage of .972. Washington’s leading scorer was John Carlson, with 3-3-6.
Henrik Lundqvist led New York to the top of the Eastern Conference standings with a 39-18-5 record in 62 appearances. The 39 regular-season wins were a career high and Lundqvist also finished tied for third overall in shutouts shutouts (eight), fourth in goals-against average (1.97) and save percentage (.930). Lundqvist is also a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, given annually to the NHL’s top goaltender.
The Bottom Line: The Rangers have to get off to a fast start and get a couple past the Caps red hot goalie. Want to dominate the books this season with some of the best NHL Picks Experts in the business? Then sign up right now and get NHL Picks Free!
Recent Trends to Consider:
Over is 5-0-4 in the last 9 meetings in New York.
Capitals are 6-0 in their last 6 Saturday games.
Capitals are 11-2 in their last 13 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.
Capitals are 5-1 in their last 6 games as a road underdog.
Capitals are 4-1 in their last 5 road games.
Rangers are 8-2 in their last 10 vs. Southeast.
Capitals are 1-7 in their last 8 games as a road underdog of +110 to +150.
Capitals are 0-5 in their last 5 Conference Semifinals games.
Rangers are 1-4 in their last 5 games following a win.
Rangers are 1-4 in their last 5 Saturday games.
Rangers are 1-6 in their last 7 Conference Semifinals games.
Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers
When: Saturday, April 28th@3:00 PM EST
Pick: Rangers -160
Point-Spreads recommends you check the Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers 2012 NHL Playoff Odds before they drop the puck.