Rangers at Capitals Picks and Game 5 NHL Odds
by Dave Schwab - 5/10/2013
It’s now down to a best-of-three series between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals when these two teams square off this Friday night in Game 5 of the opening round of the playoffs. All the action from the Verizon Center is set to get underway at 7:30 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
New York found itself in an early 0-2 hole in this best-of-seven series with two road losses, but in the friendly confines of Madison Square Garden it regained its form with back-to-back 4-3 victories that tied the series at two games apiece.
The Capitals find themselves back on their home ice for Game 5 where they knocked off the Rangers 3-1 in the series opener as -143 favorites and grinded out a thrilling 1-0 win in overtime as -132 favorites in Game 2. The total stayed “under” in both of those games but has gone “over” in the last two.
Rangers at Capitals Betting Storylines
One of the keys to the Rangers grabbing the edge in this series with a win on Friday night will be their ability to score on the road. After managing just one goal in the first two games, they exploded for eight goals in the last two contests. Carl Hagelin and Derek Stepan have combined to score four goals, and Derick Brassard leads the team in points with a goal and four assists. Stepan hammered home the game winners in Game 3 and Game 4 as New York scored four of its eight goals in the third period.
The other key to stealing a win on the road will be the play of Henrik Lundqvist in goal. He has given up three goals in three of the first four games, which is a bit of a surprise after posting a goals-against average of 2.05 in the regular season. However, he made some brilliant saves down the stretch of the last two games, which proved to be the difference.
Washington came into the playoffs as the hottest team in the NHL with an 11-1-1 record in its final 13 regular season games, so it was not that surprising that it got off to such a strong start in this series. The good news coming into this crucial showdown is that the Capitals potent offensive attack is actually getting better as this series wears on with six goals in the last two games after scoring four in the first two contests
Defenseman Mike Green has stepped up in a big way with two goals and two assists, and Mathieu Perreault has matched that total as well. However, in order to win this game, Washington might just need its big guns such as Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom to find a way to beat Lundqvist in the third period.
It will also need a better effort from its netminder Braden Holtby. After standing on his head in the first two games to stop just about everything that came his way, he has come back down to earth in the last two and suddenly looks very beatable late in the game. He has faced a total of 124 shots in this series and has an overall save percentage of .927.
Rangers at Capitals NHL Game 5 Betting Odds and Trends
The Rangers are 4-1 in their last five games playing on one day’s rest and 7-3 in their last 10 games overall. The total has stayed under in 10 of their last 16 games against a team with a winning record.
The Capitals are 9-1 in their last 10 home games but just 5-12 in their last 17 games against a team from the Atlantic Division. The total has stayed under in their last four home games.
The home team in this matchup has won eight of the last 10 meetings, and the total has stayed under 20 of the last 28 games played in Washington.
Rangers at Capitals Picks and Betting Predictions
The only way that the Rangers are going to win this series is to steal a game on the road, and a 1-4 record in their last five trips to Washington does not instill all that much confidence they can get it done. Look for both goalies to return to form on Friday night in a low-scoring battle, but Holtby ultimately outshines his counterpart just enough to help the Capitals take that crucial 3-2 series edge.
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