The New York Rangers made it to the playoffs after a terrible first half of the season, and will be facing Washington in the first round. As the New Yorkers qualified from the sixth place and the Capitals won the South East division, the Rangers will be playing the first and last game on the road, assuming the winner will be decided in seven games.
Match: Washington vs NY Rangers
Odds: William Hill 2.10
Last time they qualified for the playoffs, Washington was the team with the best record in National Hockey League and the winners of the Presidents trophy. Their performance this year is less impressive and the fact that they’ve won their division means nothing given the fact that this was the weakest in the conference. Ovechkin had an above average season, but this is a bit underwhelming from a player that everyone expects to single-handedly defeat opponents.
At the opposite end, we have a team that struggles to win games away from home and had limited success in the playoffs in the last decade. The Rangers play a more defensive hockey and are among the teams who have conceded the fewest goals in the regular season. This makes them a stringy opponent at home but a manageable foe on the road, with teams from the South East division being quite successful against them. New York barely defeated Carolina in overtime and succumbed to Florida in the final week of April, so they have good reasons to fear the most potent team in the Southeast.
The Capitals should take the opening game with relative ease and even double their advantage in the second round that is also played in Washington. Punters need to take it one step at a time and for the time being back the hosts to win in regulation time at odds of 2.10 with William Hill.