Washington Capitals at New York Rangers Odds - Free Pick 1/9/2016
Two bitter NHL rivals are set to face-off against one another this Saturday when the Washington Capitals go on the road to Madison Square Garden to tangle with the New York Rangers. The puck is set to drop at 1 p.m. (ET) in this Metro Division matinee and the game will be available on NHL Center Ice.
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The Capitals are back on track after closing-out 2015 with a road loss to Carolina before opening the New Year with a road loss in overtime to Columbus. This past Wednesday, they knocked-off the rival New York Islanders 4-1 as -111 road favorites following a 3-2 road win against Boston as -117 favorites to improve to 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. Washington has a comfortable 14-point lead over the Islanders in the Metro Division with a NHL-high 63 points. It will close-out this current five-game trip with a 15-4-2 record in its previous 21 road games.
This is easily the most complete team in the Eastern Conference right now with an offense that is averaging 3.2 goals a game complementing a defense that is allowing just 2.1 goals. Both of these numbers are ranked second in the NHL. The trio of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov have accounted for 47 goals and 62 assists through their first 40 games. Braden Holtby has been rock-solid in goal with a .933 save percentage and his goals-against average is 1.90 in 33 games.
New York is currently in third-place in the Metro with 48 points, but losing ground with a 4-5-1 record over their last 10 games. It is coming off a 6-2 romp against Dallas this past Tuesday as a -113 home favorite to win two of its last three games. The total has now gone OVER in nine of its last 11 games. The Rangers come into this showdown with a solid 15-5-1 record at home this season.
This team been known for playing stout defense in the past, but that has not always been the case this season with a goals-against average of 2.6 that is ranked 14th in the league. Veteran goalie Henrik Lundqvist (2.49 GAA) continues to get the majority of the starts, but Antti Raanta has played well in 11 games with a GAA of 2.08. The big plus for New York has been an offensive attack led by Mats Zuccarello that is averaging 2.9 goals a game.
The Canadiens are 7-2 in their last nine road games and they have won five of their last seven division games. The total has gone OVER in five of their last eight games against a division foe.
The Rangers are 0-6 in their last six games following a win, but they have won 17 of their last 25 games played on Saturday. The total has gone OVER in three of their last four home games.
Head-to-head in this division tilt, the home team is 6-2 in the last eight meetings and the total has gone OVER in three of the last four games. These two have split the first two meetings this season with both games played in New York.
Washington Capitals at New York Rangers Prediction
This should be a great matchup between two teams that know and dislike each other quite a bit. While I would have to lean towards the hot hand with Washington taking the edge in the season series, my "best bet" pick is the OVER on the total line with both teams lighting the lamp early and often.