The battle for the Stanley Cup Finals begin tonight for two Eastern Conference teams in the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals. The game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start time and it will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network. Currently the odds for the game have the Capitals as a small favorites to win.
Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals open the NHL Playoffs at home looking to get to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Caps surely have the talent to be able to be able to make a run at the post season, but opening up against the New York Rangers could prove to be a tough task. Both he and Nicklas Backstrom are ready to get the playoffs underway as the third seed, which allows them to open at home.
The Caps went 15-8-1 in home games this season while the Rangers were under .500 on the road at just 10-12-2. That's a tremendous advantage for the Capitals in tonight's game.
The Rangers had been coming up short of expectations during the regular season before trading away sharp shooter Marian Gaborik to the Blue Jackets. Many questioned the move as Gabrik is an elite goal scorer, but for whatever reason the chemistry on the Rangers was not good. It seems as if the trade for Derick Brassard and picking up Ryane Clowe have certainly helped things, but moving stars when they were picked as the favorite to win the Stanley Cup seems a bit strange. Clowe is a bit banged up and it's not sure yet whether he will play tonight.
Yet, despite the road woes and strange transactions by the Rangers this season, they are very hot right now. New York 9-3-1 and clinched a playoff berth in their next-to-last game.
Goal tending is going to be huge in this one and we give an edge to Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers.
Offensively Derek Stepan and Rick Nash will be looking to put pressure on Braden Holtby. We like the Rangers to get it done tonight on the road.
Free Pick: Rangers 3, Capitals 2
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