New York Rangers (-105) at Washington Capitals (-115, 5 o/u)
After two tight, one-goal games, the New York Rangers (53-22-7) and Washington Capitals (45-26-11) know they are in for a long series. All knotted at one game apiece, both teams will look for the early series lead in Game 3 tonight at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. (7:30 PM Eastern).
After falling on a rare NBA-style buzzer-beater in Game 1 (2-1), the Rangers bounced back and won Game 2 (3-2). Chris Kreider got the Rangers on the board just 38 seconds into the game and Dan Boyle added a powerplay tally midway through the first to put New York up 2-0. After that, the home team looked to be hanging on, getting outshot 28-20 in the final 40 minutes.
But Derick Brassard scored what proved to be the game-winner six minutes into the third – sneaking a quick wrist shot between the legs of Braden Holtby after the Caps left him alone in front of the net – and the Rangers now take their NHL-best 28-11-2 regular season road record to Washington on even terms.
For the Capitals, star forward Alex Ovechkin played like a man possessed in Game 2, piling up four shots, nine hits, and one highlight reel goal in almost 20 minutes of ice time. But it wasn’t enough to overcome the early 2-0 deficit, as Henrik Lundqvist shut the door in the Ranger net late.
In the trends, the Rangers have won in four of their last five visits to the Verizon Center, including the last two. Three of the last four of those have stayed under the game total. Tonight’s game looks like a toss-up due to New York’s success on the road (especially in Washington), making the Rangers (-105) better value.
Pick: Rangers (-105).
(Photo credit: Robert Kowal (Rick Nash) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)