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Capitals vs. Rangers NHL Odds & Picks: Value Is on New York Following Brawl (Wednesday, May 5)

Capitals vs. Rangers NHL Odds & Picks: Value Is on New York Following Brawl (Wednesday, May 5) article feature image

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Tom Wilson (left) and Artemi Panarin.

  • The Capitals and Rangers had a brawl break out in their last meeting that put Artemi Panarin out for the season.
  • Tom Wilson was unsurprisingly involved, and he's set to play at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday after avoiding suspension. (3)
  • Pete Truszkowski breaks down where he sees betting value in this East Division matchup.

Capitals vs. Rangers Odds

Capitals Odds -130
Rangers Odds +110
Over/Under 6
Time Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET
Odds as of Tuesday and via BetMGM

Wednesday’s matchup between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers might not have a huge impact on the East Division standings, but it might be the most anticipated matchup of the night.

The Rangers are eliminated from playoff contention, and the Capitals have clinched with only seeding left to fight for. 

However, in Monday’s 6-3 Capitals win, things got a bit out of control.

Noted disturber Tom Wilson punched Pavel Buchnevich in the back of the head, body slammed a helmet-less Artemi Panarin to the ice and then acted like a professional wrestler on his trip to the penalty box. 

The NHL fined Wilson a measly $5,000. The Rangers are livid about the lack of suspension, putting the league on blast publicly via a press release. Panarin is now out for the rest of the season.

What does this all mean for Wednesday’s game?

Washington Capitals

It’s been another solid season for the Washington Capitals, who have the top seed in the division in their sights. The Caps’ 33-14-5 record has them two points out of first place with two games in hand on the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Analytically, the Capitals are a solid team but not quite to the level of their record. They rank 13th with an expected goal rate of 50.8% and 14th in shot attempt share. Both sides of the puck are relatively average, with Washington ranking 15th in expected goals scored and 11th in expected goals against. 

The Capitals’ offense is vastly over performing expectations. Washington ranks first in the league in goals scored per hour at 5-on-5. However, the team might be without two key players on Wednesday night.

Alex Ovechkin has been dealing with an injury that has seen him play just 39 seconds in the team’s last five games. Additionally, Evgeny Kuznetsov was put on the COVID-19 list on Tuesday. 

Goaltending has not been a strong point for the Capitals this season. Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek have combined for a -11.9 goals saved above expectation (GSAx) mark this season, and Washington has a -0.45% save percentage above expectation this season. 

New York Rangers

It’s been an up and down season for the New York Rangers. They will finish the season in fifth place in the division, which means they’ll miss out on a playoff spot.

Things started off poorly for the club, but an impressive run put them within dreaming distance of a playoff spot last week. However, once that dream died, the team responded with three straight losses. 

Emotion and motivation will not be an issue for New York after Wilson’s actions on Monday night. 

The Rangers are an average analytical team that outperforms their metrics due to the talent on their roster. This can be seen by the fact they rank 23rd in expected goals scored but ninth in actual goals scored per hour at 5-on-5. New York has a 49.1% expected goal rate and a 48% shot attempt share on the season.

Even without Panarin, there’s still plenty of offensive firepower on this team. Mika Zibanejad, Ryan Strome, Pavel Buchnevich and Adam Fox all have at least 45 points. Chris Kreider has 20 goals, while Kaapo Kakko and Alexis Lafreniere have improved as the season’s gone on. 

Alexandar Georgiev will get the start for the Rangers after Igor Shesterkin was beaten five times on Monday. Georgiev has had an uninspiring season, posting a GSAx of -7.1. However, he has been better as of late, posting a .936 save percentage over his last six appearances.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

While analytics and numbers are a tremendous tool in evaluating teams, it’d be malpractice to not acknowledge that emotion and passion have a tremendous impact on the sport of hockey. 

The Rangers organization, to a man, is livid with Wilson, the Washington Capitals and the National Hockey League. The organization released a scathing press release calling for George Parros, the head of player safety, to be fired after he failed to suspend Wilson. Coach David Quinn and numerous players have been outspoken about what occurred. 

The Rangers have nothing to play for but pride. This is their final home game of the season at Madison Square Garden and fans surely expect a passionate, hard-fought game to avenge what happened on Monday. I expect New York’s emotional investment in this contest to be huge.

Washington needs to prepare for the playoffs beginning next week while the Rangers could leave everything on the ice here. As a home underdog, I have to take the Rangers here on principle. 

Pick: Rangers +110

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