NHL Odds, Picks, Predictions: Capitals vs Rangers (December 27)
Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox and Mika Zibanejad.
- Two hot teams meet as the NHL returns from the holiday break when the Washington Capitals face off with the New York Rangers.
- New York is a strong favorite, which may have something to do with its health status relative to banged-up Washington.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Capitals vs. Rangers Odds
|Over/Under||6 (-112 / -108)|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
After a three-day break, NHL action resumes on Tuesday with a busy 12-game slate. Included on the list — a compelling Metropolitan Division matchup, with Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals visiting Manhattan to take on the surging New York Rangers.
Here’s the latest on both teams, and your best bet for the game.
The recent conversation around the Capitals has been all about Alex Ovechkin’s chase for top spot on the NHL’s all-time goal-scoring list. In Washington’s last game before the holiday break, the super-sniper scored the opening goal and added an empty-netter against the Winnipeg Jets. That night, he matched and surpassed Gordie Howe by moving to 802 goals, second in NHL history.
Those goals snapped a four-game drought for The Great 8, but he still has nine goals in his last nine games and is up to 22 for the year. And while it’s commendable that Ovechkin’s teammates are doing their best to aid his chase for the record, it would also be helpful if they could chip in a bit more offensively. Washington ranks 19th overall in scoring, averaging 3.08 goals per game, and the only other Caps player who’s into double-digits in goals is Conor Sheary with 10.
Of course, the Capitals have been dealing with a long list of injury issues this season. Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson are both getting close to making their season debuts — both practiced in regular jerseys on Dec. 21 — but there’s no timeline yet for them to get into the lineup.
Also, forward T.J. Oshie missed the last three games before the break with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day, and defenseman John Carlson is now sidelined indefinitely. He was hospitalized overnight after taking a slap shot to the face against Winnipeg and there’s no timeline yet for his return.
But for all their challenges, the Capitals are picking up points. They’re 9-1-0 in their last 10 games and went into the holiday break on a four-game winning streak, which has them in the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference with a record of 19-13-4.
Their puck possession numbers at 5-on-5 are solid, ranked 13th overall at 51.51%, they’re strong on the penalty kill at 80.8%, and the tandem of Darcy Kuemper and Charlie Lindgren has been steady in goal, each at 4.1 goals saved above expected and with above average base statistics.
Lindgren has been the go-to guy during the recent hot streak. He has started nine of Washington’s last 10 games and is 8-1-0 during that stretch, with a 1.89 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.
New York Rangers
At the other end of the ice, the New York Rangers are also on the upswing. They’re 8-2-0 in their last 10 games and sit one point ahead of the Capitals with one fewer game played, thanks to a record of 19-11-5.
At 5-on-5, New York is also in similar territory to Washington, controlling 51.16% of expected goals. The Blueshirts are stronger offensively, with a mid-tier power play and 3.27 goals scored per game. Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad and Adam Fox are all producing at a point-a-game or better, and Chris Kreider is once again leading his team with 16 goals.
The Rangers are also one of the league’s stingier defensive teams, giving up an average of just 2.71 goals per game. Lately, Igor Shesterkin is once again looking like the 2022 Vezina winner. Since December 1, he’s 7-1-1, with a .922 save percentage and 2.19 goals-against average.
He’s now second in the NHL with 17 wins, but his 8.2 goals saved above expected are only good for 10th place in the league rankings, well behind leader and countryman Ilya Sorokin of the New York Islanders (17.4).
Another area where the Rangers have a distinct advantage: health. New York is coming out of the holiday break with no reported injuries.
Tuesday will mark the first meeting of the year between the Caps and the Blueshirts. Last year, the Rangers held a 2-1 edge in the season series.
At -150, the oddsmakers at FanDuel are giving the Rangers a 60% chance of a win over Washington on Tuesday — a healthy bump considering the two teams are both on serious hot streaks, getting great goaltending and are only separated by one point in the standings.
But the Rangers are at home and they’re healthy. Add in Carlson’s uncertain status for Washington, and it makes sense to give the home side the edge.
As of Monday afternoon, the Rangers are even more heavily favored on some other sites than the FanDuel line of -150. If you can, lock this in before there is more movement.
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