With so many games against the same teams in this odd NHL season, tensions are bound to run high. The outcome of Wednesday’s tilt between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers will be secondary to what takes place on the ice after New York’s leading scorer Artemi Panarin was involved in a scrap with Tom Wilson and has been shut down for the remainder of the season as a result.
The Rangers suffered their third straight loss and have been eliminated from the playoff race so they have nothing to lose as they seek retribution. If Wilson plays in the final game of the season between the clubs you can expect shenanigans, which will certainly take the Blueshirts away from the goal of winning the game.
The puck drops Wednesday, May 5 at 7 p.m. ET from the Madison Square Garden, New York and will be televised on NBCSN.
Washington Capitals at New York Rangers Odds
Money Line: Washington Capitals -129 | New York Rangers +110
Puck Line: Washington Capitals -1.5 +176 | New York Rangers +1.5 -202
Season To Date
The Capitals needed a win on Monday night to stay at the top of the East standings and they got it, stopping a two-game skid by beating the Rangers 6-3. They were also ready to welcome back Alexander Ovechkin after he missed a few games with a lower-body injury. Ovie made an appearance but headed back to the locker room after a brief stint and didn’t return. No pro sports league is as secretive about injuries as the NHL so we don’t know the extent of the ailment. Ovechkin’s absence didn’t hurt the offense on Monday night with six different players scoring a goal to pick up slack. The Caps improved to 33-14-5 to tie Pittsburgh for the division lead with 71 points and they have a game in hand.
It’s always interesting to see how teams react in the game immediately after being eliminated from playoff contention. The Rangers picked a bad time to lose three in a row, but overall the season would have to be considered a success considering the team was going through a rebuild. Still, being tossed out of the postseason picture this late stings. And adding injury to insult is the loss of Panarin, who lost a tussle with Wilson and has been shut down for the final few games. What killed the Rangers during their slump was offense, or lack of. They were blanked in consecutive games by the rival Islanders. They had a nice stretch to stay in the hunt thanks to the Devils. The Rangers swept a four-game set with their Jersey neighbor outscoring them 18-6. That was part of a run where they won seven of nine games only delaying the inevitable.
The Caps showed us how good they are in Monday’s win. They were without several players for the game with Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie and Justin Schultz all absent. Washington dressed only 17 players then saw Ovie take a seat after 39 seconds of first period ice time. They were still able to get their eighth payout in 12 games with a balanced scoring attack. The Caps are second in the NHL in goals per game with 3.4 and they’ve scored at least six goals in five of their last 11 games with the OVER 10-3 in their last 13 contests. The offense is aided by a strong power play, which ranks third in the league converting over 26 percent of the time. Their seventh-ranked penalty kill has prevented the Caps from allowing more than the 2.9 goals per game they currently surrender
New York Rangers
One thing the Rangers don’t want to do is take silly penalties as they seek to avenge the chippy play of Wilson from Monday’s game. Other than a fine the league took no action against Wilson for his unnecessary handling of Rangers leaving the players to police the game on their own. And you know if Wilson is in the lineup he’s getting plenty of attention from New York’s enforcers.
The recent goal scoring drought is alarming since the offense has been good all season. The loss of Panarin, who leads the team with 41 assists and 58 points adds another layer of intrigue to this game. The Rangers boast a balanced attack, though, which should help them overcome the loss to a certain degree. New York is the only team with five players recording at least 44 points and it’s one of two clubs with three 20-goal scorers. There is a significant drop in production after that leading to the UNDER going 30-21 in their games. The Rangers have won four of the seven previous meetings with the teams cashing the OVER in the last three.
Capitals vs Rangers Betting Trends
Washington has seven wins in their last nine away games. Five of their last six road tilts went over the hockey betting total. New York saw the cashier’s cage in nine of their last 12 home games. Four of the Rangers previous five home matchups stayed under the number.
In this series, the Rangers paid in six of their last eight games against the Capitals. Four of the previous six games between these teams stayed under the total. At Madison Square Garden, the Rangers are 4-0 vs. the Caps. Three of the last five between these teams at New York went under the number.
Capitals vs Rangers Prediction
Our Pick: Washington Capitals -129 / OVER 5.5
The Rangers will be fired up after what happened on Monday. That distraction, along with the loss of Panarin, will sink the Blueshirts in this one. The Caps have plenty to play for and they likely get a few regulars back in the lineup helping them to a win on the moneyline.