With goalie Henrik Lundqvist in need of fine-tuning his game before the Stanley Cup playoffs, the New York Rangers will carry a positive trend into their rivalry matchup against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.
With little on the line standings-wise since both teams are locked into a playoff position, Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals are -190 betting favorites against the visiting +165 underdog Rangers, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Since November 2011, the Rangers are 7-3 straight-up in regular-season road games against the Capitals. Both teams are likely to hold out key players who have anything more serious than a hangnail. Washington has clinched the Presidents’ Trophy with the best overall record in the NHL, while the Rangers will be a cross-over wild-card team in the first round, facing the Montreal Canadiens in an Atlantic Division series.
The Rangers are 47-26-6 on the season, although they are just 3-7 across their last 10 games. Lundqvist, the franchise goalie, will be making his fifth start since missing three weeks due to hip injuries.
New York coach Alain Vigneault confirmed Tuesday that D Ryan McDonagh, RW Jesper Fast, RW Rick Nash and RW Mats Zuccarello will not play, along with possibly several other players. New York is very much a scoring-by-committee team, though, and fill-ins such as Pavel Buchnevich, Tanner Glass and Matt Puempel will be eager to show they deserve to be in the lineup, not the press box.
Lundqvist is 12-4-2 in his last 18 appearances against Washington.
Washington is 53-18-8 overall on the season, including 8-2 across its last 10 games. With home-ice advantage for the playoffs not in question, coach Barry Trotz might sit some of his key players, especially since Washington played the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.
The Capitals are 4-6 in the last 10 contests when they were playing the second of back-to-back games, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.
Defenseman John Carlson, for one, was a game-time scratch for Washington against Toronto. However, goalie Braden Holtby is one key player who will surely start, since understudy Philipp Grubauer was between the pipes on Tuesday. Holtby is 7-9-1 in 17 career games against the Rangers.
The total has gone over in four consecutive Rangers’ games. The total has also gone over in six of New York’s eight most recent divisional road games, with one push. However, the total has gone over in just two of the Capitals’ 10 most recent divisional home games.