The Rangers went into this season with a thud, and they’re on the way out with another thud. It wasn’t supposed to go like this for the Rangers, who are running out of time to win a Stanley Cup with Henrik Lundqvist at the helm. I think that window closed when they were unable to defeat the Kings in 2014. Henrik looked defeated after that series and almost a realization that the best opportunity he’s going to have is gone. Fast forward to 2018 and it hasn’t gotten any better for the 36-year-old.
His numbers are down, and more importantly, numbers across the board for the Rangers are at an all-time low. The Rangers are in danger of finishing the season below .500 for the first time since 2003-04 when they went 27-40-7. No, it won’t be that ugly, the Rangers are currently 33-34-3, but it’s nevertheless been a disappointing year in NYC. They went 48-28-6 a year ago, so a steep decline has hit them in the face.
They’ve hit a wall and fell into a hole that is going to be difficult to get out of next season. I don’t see it being an instant turnaround for the Rangers. Rather a rebuilding process should be the ultimate goal. There isn’t any reason why they should be buyers in the offseason unless they want to throw money away. That doesn’t help Lundqvist any, but his contract does extend all the way to 2021. And no, there isn’t going to be a team willing to take an aging goaltender with his contract. Ideally, I’m sure the Rangers would love to shed some salary, but they may have to ride it out with Henrik in net. The Rangers take on a Capitals team gearing up for another playoff appearance. Head below for our free Capitals vs. Rangers pick.
Washington Capitals vs. N.Y. Rangers Pick
The Rangers snapped a three-game skid against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, a 5-1 win at MSG. There hasn’t been much to get excited over, though. It was only their third win in nine games, and it was against the Sabres. Prior to that game, the Rangers took 4-3, 5-3, and 4-3 losses. It’s been kind of the same frustrating pattern for them, as Lundqvist and the defence have taken a major step back in 2017-18. Since posting a 2.25 GAA in 2014-15, Lundqvist slipped to a 2.48 the next season, and then a 2.74 GAA and 2.94 GAA this year. Last season was his worst year in the league, a career that dates back to 2005. In 2017-18 he will break that and set a new career low. Overall, the Rangers are 25th with 3.15 goals allowed per game.
Meanwhile, the Caps have won seven of their last eight games, as they’re coming off a 6-4 win over the Canadiens in Montreal. They get closer to home with a stop in New York tonight. Defence has regressed for the Capitals this season as well, but their offence has continued to click. Holtby has been less than terrific with a 3.03 GAA and 0.906 save percentage.
Not the best year for a netminder usually more dependable than that. Their defence is 16th in the league, allowing 2.93 goals per game. The OVER has gone 5-1 for the Capitals in their last six outings, while the Rangers have gone 7-0-1 to the OVER. The Capitals will be going after their eighth win in nine days, as they hope to add some padding atop the Metro. In what looks like a 4-3 or 5-2 game, I’d take a look here at the OVER.
PICK: OVER 6 (-110)