Washington Capitals (+150) at New York Rangers (-170, 5 o/u)
Game 1 of the best-of-seven series between the NY Rangers (53-22-7 regular season) and Washington Capitals (45-26-11 regular season) ended in the most dramatic of fashions.
Tied at one with just seconds to play, Caps forward Nic Backstrom crunched Ranger defenseman Dan Boyle into the boards knocking the puck free to teammate Alex Ovechkin. With just 1.2 seconds on the clock – and Boyle now slumped over injured in the corner – Ovechkin centered the puck from behind the net to Joel Ward, who buried the winner behind Henrik Lundqvist, simultaneously silencing and shocking the MSG crowd.
This afternoon, the Rangers will look to shake off the heartbreaking loss and get back on even terms as they host the Capitals in Game 2 (12:30 PM Eastern).
The 2-1 game was the sixth straight one-goal game for the Blueshirts, who have seen all of their playoff games to date decided by a single tally.
Scoring has all of a sudden become an issue for the team, which finished second in the Eastern Conference with 252 goals for during the regular season. New York hasn’t scored more than two goals in a game since losing 4-3 to the Pens in Game 3 of their first round series. Carl Hagelin leads the team with three goals through six games, while the squad’s 42-goal man Rick Nash has just one.
In Game 1 against the Caps, the Rangers generated their share of scoring chances and fired 32 shots on Washington goalie Braden Holtby, but only managed one tally from Jesper Fast (his first-career playoff goal).
The Caps, meanwhile, have now won four of their last five games after falling behind the Islanders 2-1 in their first-round series. The play of Holtby has been key as Washington isn’t scoring at its usual clip either. The Washington netminder has given up just one goal in four of the last five games and is sporting a sterling .947 SV% and 1.54 GAA in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Caps’ big guns are producing just enough. Backstrom and Ovechkin are tied for the the team with seven points apiece.
With goals hard to come by for both teams, the best option for today’s game looks like the under (5).
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (Flickr: 00091427) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)