Free Series Picks: Capitals vs. Rangers NHL Playoffs Gambling Lines

NHL Predictions: Washington vs New York Futures

Round two of the Stanley Cup playoffs gets underway on Thursday evening when the Washington Capitals take on the New York Rangers. Cappers Picks will provide free NHL picks throughout the playoffs so check back often.

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Game Schedule

Game 2: AT NYR SAT MAY 2, 12:30 PM ET

NHL Series Odds

Washington vs New York
Series Odds: Capitals +155 / Rangers -175
Game 1: Thursday, April 30 at Madison Square Garden, 7:30 pm EST

There were no huge surprises in round one in the Metropolitan Division as the favourites both got through their first round opponents to set up a head to head match up between the first and second seeds.

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Washington escaped a very tight series with the New York Islanders, vanquishing the Isles in a nail biting game seven. The Rangers won their first round series with the Penguins in match up that was a lot closer than the 4-1 series win would might indicate. New York won the season series with the Caps by a count of 3-1, but are going to have to get their offense in gear for this playoff series as the Caps have been playing a very solid defensive game.


These aren’t the Capitals of old and gone are the days where this team will just play run and gun and try to out-chance their opponents for 60 minutes. Coach Barry Trotz has put in a solid defensive structure and star offensive players like Alexander Ovechkin and Niklas Backstrom have brought their 200-foot game to a new level.

This was on full display in the Caps’ series clinching 2-1 win over the Islanders where Washington was absolutely stifling defensively. If not for Isles goalie Jaroslav Halak, this game could have very easily been a white wash as the Caps outshot New York by a count of 26-11, allowing no more than four shots in each of the three periods.

Special teams have been a huge factor for Washington who were a perfect 100% on the penalty kill in their round one series. The power play wasn’t exactly what you’d expect from a team that is loaded with offensive talent, going just 15.4% in round one, but when your PK is perfect you don’t have to be lighting up the scoreboard with the man advantage to win the special teams battle.

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If there’s one area that you’d have to give the Caps the edge it’s that they have more game breakers that can turn a game around in one play. Sure the Rangers have a bevy of depth and some solid players, but none are quite at the tier that Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom are at. The emergence of young gun Evgeni Kuznetsov adds another wrinkle to the Caps attack. The 22-year-old Russian really found his stride late in the series, tallying three goals in the final three games including the series clincher in game seven on a brilliant solo effort.

In goal there’s not a lot to worry about with this team as Braden Holtby has proven that he can be a number one netminder. Holtby put together a very impressive season with a 41-20-10 record, .923 SV% and 2.22 GAA. Holtby’s 41 wins were second only to Carey Price.


The Broadway Blueshirts got their first round win in five games, as I predicted more than two weeks ago. The series however was much closer than the 4-1 victory might indicate. The Rangers became the first team in NHL history to win a four game series by winning all four games by a score of 2-1. The playoffs are always a lot more tight checking and defensive minded but for the Rangers to win four games in which they scored just eight goals is pretty uncommon.

Take into account the fact that the Rangers also won two of those games in over time. A bad bounce or a flash of brilliance from Crosby or Malkin in each of those two games and all of a sudden the Rangers are down 3-2 in that series heading back to Pittsburgh, so things definitely went their way. That being said, the Rangers did look in control for most of the series aside from a game two let down where Sidney Crosby took the game over on his own and carried the Penguins on his back.

Defense is this team’s mantra and they are loaded on the back end with horses that can eat up minutes and shut down opposing teams in a big way. The Pens had been struggling to score late in the season, but even still, to hold Crosby and co. to seven goals in five games is no small accomplishment.

Their forwards have been a bit of a question mark this post season, scoring just 11 goals in five games. Rick Nash managed just one goal and Martin St. Louis had only a single assist. The marquee players for this team are going to have to step up at some point as this team can not rely solely on its defense and goaltending.

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What’s more concerning is that the Rangers went stagnant against a Penguins defense that was riddled with injuries and played without their top two defenders Kris Letang and Christian Ehrhoff. The powerplay for the Rangers was a bit off against Pittsburgh as well, going 15% and they’re facing an uphill battle against a Caps team that has yet to allow a powerplay goal this post season.

4* Free Capitals vs. Rangers Series Pick

As the competition gets better, teams have to play better and that certainly is the case for the Rangers in this one, who are a big favourite to come out of the Eastern Conference. A less than impressive first round might have taken a bit of shine off them, but they are coming into this one well rested against a Caps team that just had a seven game series that was very physical.

Washington is going to give the Rangers a go in this one and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this series go six or seven games as the Capitals have a very good mix of talent and grit and will be a big step up in physicality from what the Rangers saw from Pittsburgh in round one.

I think the Caps can actually steal game one as they’re riding a wave of momentum,  but the gas tank will get a little low as the series wears on and that’s when the Rangers will pick up steam and put the Caps away. Go with Rangers to win this series in six. NHL Betting and gambling site provides the BEST Online hockey predictions for you to bet on for the NHL hockey season! Stick with us all season long!

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By Matt Durnan

A (self-proclaimed) fantasy sports guru since 2004 and a journalist since 2007. He has been offering unsolicited sports gambling advice to his circle of friends for years and has now put himself at the mercy of online readers everywhere. "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how much fun you have"... His hockey coach told him that when he was 7. His team lost every game that year.