It’s another round between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals to start the NHL season. The memory of Tom Wilson beating up Artemi Panarin is still fresh in the minds of both the Rangers and their fans, so they made sure to “bulk up” in preparation for their next showdown against the big and physical Capitals.
The NHL betting odds have Washington, the home team, as the slight favorites. The rivals split last season’s series 2-2 in the Capital One Arena as the Rangers went a perfect 4-0 on the puckline and as the juice on their line indicates, they should either lose a close one or win outright.
|Team||Puck Line||Moneyline||Total||Team Total|
|New York Rangers||+1½ -230||+110||6 -115o||2½ -145o/+105u|
|Washington||-1½ +190||-130||6 -105u||3½ +110o/-150u|
Rangers: Bulking Up
The Rangers were a top 10 offense and defense last season but missed the playoffs thanks to playing in the toughest division. But the playoff miss did not so much impact the front office’s minds as the infamous Wilson-on-Panarin beatdown followed by the “Fight Night” at the Garden.
Instead of improving the roster by adding skill, the Rangers added some heavyweights to bring muscle and grit. New York acquired Ryan Reaves, one of the few remaining “enforcers” left in the NHL along with rugged players like defenseman Patrik Nemeth and checking line stud Barclay Goodrow, fresh off a second consecutive Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay.
Gerrard Gallant also comes over hoping to use his coaching magic to get the most out of the Rangers. Anything short of a playoff appearance would be considered a disappointment. But first, the team must get past the schoolyard bullies.
Capitals: Beat Them or Beat Them Up
Washington may be down 4-5-1 in its last 10 games against New York, but it seemingly has a leg up on the rivalry thanks to what transpired. The Capitals played a fast-paced brand of hockey that featured plenty of hitting and scoring.
Against a younger and more skilled team like the Rangers, the Capitals found themselves outgunned at times. Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek are a formidable duo in net, but the aging Caps can become too over-reliant on their offense, namely their power-play unit.
If Alex Ovechkin (lower body) can’t play, he will join center Nicklas Backstrom (hip) on the sidelines. This will adversely affect Washington’s offense though folks are still siding with them when betting online.
The advanced metrics on 5v5 favor the Capitals, however. But the Rangers’ secret weapon will be in net: Igor Shesterkin.
The Russian stopped 26 of 27 shots in his only appearance at Capital One Arena last season. In four games against Washington, Shesterkin has posted a .924 save percentage and has allowed just one power-play goal.
The Rangers are hoping their new additions will keep Wilson and the Capitals “in their lane”. If New York can keep its wit and play its game, it should be able to outscore and defeat the Capitals this Wednesday.
Pick: New York Rangers +110
In 28 road games last season, the Rangers were the first to score in 17. Meanwhile, the Capitals allowed the first goal in half of their home games. This game will start fast with the Rangers drawing the first blood. Take the pick’em price from the sportsbook.