The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals both needed Game 7 heroics to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Both teams will try to get things done more quickly this time around as they meet in the opening game of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Saturday afternoon. The Capitals rode a Joel Ward overtime goal to a series-clinching victory over the defending-champion Boston Bruins. The Rangers edged Ottawa 2-1 in Game 7 of their first-round tilt.
Capitals Rangers Betting
When: 3:00 PM ET, Saturday, April 28, 2012
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
TV: 3 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC
Opening Line: New York Rangers Money line: -160 Spread: -1.5 (+190) Total: 5 CLICK HERE to bet on the NHL Playoffs at BOVADA
Washington Capitals (42-32-8): It will be difficult to find a more evenly matched series than the one Washington played with Boston. All seven games were decided by one goal – the first time that’s happened in league history – and four of them went to overtime. The key to the series was the sensational play of Capitals netminder Braden Holtby, who outdueled Bruins counterpart Tim Thomas to lead Washington to its third conference semifinal appearance in four years. Holtby, a 22-year-old rookie, posted a 2.00 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage in the best-of-seven.
New York Rangers (51-24-7): New York posted the best regular-season record in the East, but that didn’t do the Rangers any good against the eighth-seeded Ottawa Senators. They actually found themselves down 3-2 before rallying for victories in Games 6 and 7. Netminder Henrik Lundqvist was the difference, stopping 51 of 54 shots in the final two games of the series. The Swedish star, who is nominated for the Hart and Vezina Trophies, finished with a 1.70 goals-against average, a .945 save percentage and a shutout against Ottawa. He’s 13-7-2 with a 2.78 GAA in 22 career games versus Washington.
1. The teams split four regular-season meetings, with each team winning once at home.
2. Lundqvist (39-18-5, 1.97 GAA, eight shutouts) is the first goaltender nominated for league MVP since Roberto Luongo finished second in voting in 2006-07.
3. Alex Ovechkin, who scored 38 goals in the regular season, had just two against the Bruins.
PREDICTION: Rangers 3, Capitals 2. CLICK HERE for 500 Handicappers Package FOR 5$