Capitals vs. Rangers Game 1 Prediction: Stanley Cup Playoffs Odds

Ryan Stetson | Updated Apr 20, 2024

NHL: Washington Capitals at New York Rangers

The New York Rangers head into this matchup as the biggest first-round favourite on the board after winning the President's Trophy.

Washington
40-31-6-5
AT
April 21, 2024, 3:00 PM ET
Madison Square Garden
NY Rangers
55-23-1-3
Puckline +1.5 -115
Moneyline +240
Over / Under o +5.5
Puckline -1.5 -105
Moneyline -300
Over / Under u +5.5

Since Peter Laviolette took over as the New York Rangers’ bench boss, he’s talked a lot about checking boxes and that’s all they’ve done so far. First off was checking a box for making the playoffs, followed by another big check mark for finishing with the NHL’s best record in the regular season. Now his club is tasked with checking off 16 more boxes to bring NYC its first Stanley Cup since 1994.

The first club in their way, the Washington Capitals, went on a heater down the stretch to make the post-season and there’s a long history of snarl between these two clubs. Buckle up those chinstraps, kids. Game 1 goes Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden with the Rangers set as -250 favourites.

Capitals vs. Rangers NHL Betting Odds

Even though the Caps and Rangers split their four-game season series, the Rangers check in as big -375 favourites to eliminate Washington on the NHL odds page. You can also get the Blueshirts to sweep the series at +500 or at +350 to win 4-1. On the other hand, the Caps are at +290 to earn the upset.

Alex Ovechkin is +375 to lead the series in goals after notching another 30-goal regular season, while Artemi Panarin (+450) and Chris Kreider (+600) aren’t far back. If you’re looking for a nice player prop off the beaten path, check out John Carlson to lead the series in blocked shots at +800.

Washington Capitals

If you’re a stats-based hockey handicapper, you’re going to have a difficult time building a case that the Caps are the better team and should win this series, but anything can happen in Game 1 – especially when you have a hot goalie in the crease. Charlie Lindgren (brother of Rangers defenceman Ryan Lindgren) started 19 of Washington’s final 22 games and went 12-6-2 with a 2.39 GAA and three shutouts. He’ll have to be just as good in Game 1 because this Caps team just doesn’t produce offensively.

They ranked 30th overall in shots per game, 29th in face-off win percentage, and 28th in the league averaging 2.6 goals per game. Their leading scorer, Dylan Strome, finished with only 67 points in 82 games. So unless the Caps magically turn back the clock to party like it’s 2018, they’re going to have to win with defence.

New York Rangers

The Rangers have had a nice break before the playoffs after securing the President’s Trophy on Monday night. The scary thing about this Rangers team is that when it’s going, it can beat you a lot of different ways. New York ranks among the league’s top 10 in just about every significant offensive and defensive category you can look up and lost more than two games in a row just once all year (four back in early January).

They’re also very deep. While Artemi Panarin, Vincent Trocheck and Alexis Lafreniere have become one of the best No. 1 lines in hockey, Laviolette isn’t afraid to give his bottom six significant ice time and responsibility. The depth on the blue line is strong with Adam Fox shouldering a major load and the power play is deadly, ranking third in the league at 26.7 per cent. And if that isn’t enough, Igor Shesterkin has found his game again and has been brilliant over the second half of the season. Also, keep your ear to the ground about the status of young centre Filip Chytil. He’s been out since early November but is practicing in full-contact and just might be ready to go sometime soon. His speed and skill would be a huge addition to the club.

NHL Prediction: Who Will Win Capitals vs. Rangers Game 1?

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