The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals meet again tonight, this time at the Capital One Arena in D.C. It will conclude a home and home series for the Rangers and Capitals, which started in NYC on Monday. The Capitals took care of business from the start, as they cruised to a 4-2 win over the Rangers. Washington jumped out to a 4-0 opening frame and rode it to the final horn. They didn’t have to do anything too fancy after the 1st period, just kill clock and prevent an average Rangers team from coming back.
Alexander Georgiev was chased early after allowing 3 goals, with Pavelec picking up where he left off. Henrik Lundqvist was unable to return to net and his status for Wednesday night is looking much better. There really is no reason for the Rangers to rush him back with the season long gone, but Henrik is a competitor and isn’t going to sit out if he’s healthy enough to play.
Last game was the first action Pavelec had seen since February 9th. Pavelec who has had an up and down career, stepped in and played well in preventing the game from turning into an embarrassment. Pavelec and Georgiev are unlikely to see the crease tonight with Lundqvist coming back. This hasn’t been a great year for him, as he’s going to have his worst statistical year of his career.
Lundqvist owns a 2.94 GAA and 0.915 save percentage, which he will tell you is not good enough. With the loss on Monday, the Rangers fell to 33-35-8 on the year. Way back of the playoffs. Conversely, the Capitals will seek to pad their lead in the Metropolitan. They are sitting pretty with 97 points, compared to the Penguins who have 92 points. The Rangers will need a much better effort than Monday night to compete here. Head below for our free Rangers vs. Capitals pick.
N.Y. Rangers vs. Washington Capitals Pick
It doesn’t look like the Capitals are going to catch up to the Bruins and Lightning, so their best game plan for the rest of the regular season is to protect their lead in the Metro. The Penguins have certainly looked more vulnerable than ever this season, but they’ve made easy work of the Caps in the playoffs. They also have to deal with the Bruins and Lightning who have looked spectacular. The Capitals’ offence competes with the best in the league, but their defence has regressed. However, all it could take is Holtby getting hot at the right time. Offence shouldn’t be an issue, but they will need Holtby to pick it up in the playoffs. He has been fighting an injury like Lundqvist, but his status is a little iffier. And just like Henrik, it’s been a down year for him. He has a 3.03 GAA and 0.906 save percentage. February was a wreck with a 0.873 save percentage and 4.62 GAA. The offence has luckily been producing, posting 3.12 goals per game. They’ve scored 3.7 goals per game in their last ten, while the Rangers have allowed 3.5 per game.
Lundqvist may be returning tonight, but he hasn’t been at his best this season, so we’re not dealing with vintage Henrik. I was snake bitten on the OVER on Monday. 4 goals in the 1st period and then only 2 more the rest of the game and we had to settle for a push. Note that backup Philipp Grubauer had a minor injury on Monday, prompting the Capitals to recall Pheonix Copley from the AHL. The OVER is 7-0-2 in the Rangers last nine games and they have to deal with the hot Capital offence again tonight. I’m going to take another swing on the same wager at the Capital One Arena on Wednesday night.