NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Capitals vs. Rangers (March 14)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Capitals vs. Rangers (March 14) article feature image

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images. Pictured: New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin

  • New York looks for revenge on Tuesday night after Washington won the duo's first two meetings this season.
  • Despite their hot start in March, the Capitals are still the underdogs in the latest matchup.
  • Below, Nick Martin explains how he's betting on the favorites tonight but getting nearly even money with his angle.

Capitals vs. Rangers Odds

Capitals Odds+140
Rangers Odds-160
Over/Under6 (-120 / +100)
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds via Bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

The Rangers will look to avenge their disappointing 4-0 and 6-3 losses to the Capitals in the opening two matchups of the season series.

New York has been the significantly overall better side this season, however, and is priced at -165 to extract a measure of revenge over division rival Washington on Tuesday.

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A Little Life Left With Washington Capitals 

Washington's 3-1-1 stretch to open up the month of March has raised its playoff chances to 6.4%, according to MoneyPuck.com.

That 6.4% might look somewhat harsh considering the Capitals' actual placement in the standings, but on top of the ground needing to be made up to several teams, MoneyPuck's model also ranks them below the other teams in the mix.

Which is very reasonable, as Washington's recent out-of-the-blue surge does not seem to be anything sustainable.

The Caps have played to a very middling 46.07% expected goals rate over the last five games, and that mark looks completely in line with the eye test.

Darcy Kuemper has been in stellar form, and the Capitals have converted even strength at an abnormal rate, which has driven the surprising little upswing.  Both of those areas are likely to regress, however, and many of the Capitals' more persistent problems seemingly will remain.

In those five contests, Washington's powerplay has scored only two times, with one coming on an extended five-on-three in Los Angeles.

The Caps' man advantage unit ranks 20th in the league this season and finished 23rd place a year ago. It has gone from being a consistent strength throughout the Ovechkin era to a flaw.

The Capitals continue to trot out the same stale powerplay look and offer very little movement in the offensive zone apart from very standard static passing sequences. The league's best man advantage units offer a variety of different looks and interchangeable parts, which is clearly not the case for the Capitals.

Darcy Kuemper will likely start in goal for Washington and has played to a +11.6 GSAx rating and .912 save % throughout 46 games played.

Uneven March for New York Rangers

New York has clearly looked somewhat disjointed to open up the month of March despite playing to a steady 3-2-1 record.

Due to cap complications surrounding the Patrick Kane pickup, a suspension to K'Andre Miller, and an injury to Ryan Lindgren, it has been forced into playing with some makeshift blue-line compositions and even one man short.

Ryan Lindgren has been announced as out for this matchup, and based on the team's morning skate, Nikko Mikkola is going to stay on the top even-strength unit alongside Adam Fox.

That unit has been an outright disaster, but the rest of the line combinations are very logical and should be a handful for the Capitals to keep in check.

Igor Shesterkin has displayed strong form of late, which is likely the most relieving thing to any Rangers fan since many of the other current issues may resolve in time.

Shesterkin has played to a +2.04 GSAx rating and .913 save % over his last five appearances.

Capitals vs. Rangers Pick

New York has been forced into playing with a shaken-up blue-line since the injury to Lindgren, which has led to some less-impressive even-strength play.

Even while fully understanding that New York has not been anywhere near top form over its last several outings, I actually would still argue the gap between these two sides is wider than -165 suggests.

At even strength, these two teams own very similar numbers in terms of chance creation and suppression recently. Especially considering New York's lineup adjustments, which have created an abnormally bad span by Rangers standards.

If those chances were to remain equal between these two sides, over a large sample it would be fair to say that New York's current mix of Zibanejad, Panarin, Kane and the like would turn those chances into more actual goals for.

The Rangers' powerplay offers another significant edge over the Capitals, whose man-advantage look has been stale for a large sample size at this point.

Shesterkin seems to be finding his top form, as well, which has to be perceived as an edge even with Kuemper in the Capitals goal.

All of those edges make me believe that even if the run of play is relatively close at even strength, New York still has value to win this contest at -105.

Pick: New York Rangers Regulation Win -105 (Bet365)

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