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2011 Stanley Cup Playoff Picks – Rangers vs. Capitals

NHL Playoff Betting – Rangers vs Capitals Series Preview & Pick

Stanley Cup Betting fans sure are getting their money’s worth from the free nhl picks we give out here at Capperspicks.com. Stick with us for the entire 2011 NHL Stanley cup playoff run.

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2011 EASTERN CONFERENCE QUARTERFINALS | #1 Washington vs. New York #8

Wednesday, April 13 at Washington, 7:30 p.m. TSN, VERSUS (JIP)
Friday, April 15 at Washington, 7:30 p.m. TSN, VERSUS
Sunday, April 17 at New York, 3:00 p.m. NBC (HD), TSN
Wednesday, April 20 at New York, 7:00 p.m. TSN, VERSUS
*Saturday, April 23 at Washington, 3:00 p.m. TSN, NBC (HD)
*Monday, April 25 at New York, TBD TSN
*Wednesday, April 27 at Washington, TBD TSN

Odds To Win Cup: N.Y +1200, Washington +220
Rangers vs Capitals Odds To Win 7 Game Series: Rangers +180, Capitals -240

Time to find out if the Washington Capitals have exorcised their demons from last season. At the start of the 2010 playoffs, the Caps owned the NHL’s best record and were expected to play deep into May on the strength of their powerhouse offense. It wasn’t to be; suddenly, their top scorers stopped scoring. They hit a wall against the underdog Montreal Canadiens and red-hot goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Washington also couldn’t find any consistency in goal.

So what has changed as Washington prepares to lock horns with the eighth-seeded New York Rangers this year? Once again, the Caps own the best record in the East. Once again, they’re expected to romp. However, once again, they face a very dangerous goaltender.

Henrik Lundqvist absolutely has the ability to steal a series the way Halak did last year. The All-Star netminder led the NHL with 11 shutouts this season – including two in three tries against Washington. If the Caps’ scorers, especially Alex Semin and, to a lesser extent, Alex Ovechkin, choked last season, they could theoretically have more trouble against King Henrik this time. Also, believe it or not, the Rangers outscored the Capitals this season.

However, there’s more to this matchup than meets the eye. After laboring through much of the early and middle parts of this season, the Caps may be peaking at the right time for a change. Alex Ovechkin’s 32-goal, 85-point season looks very disappointing on paper but he had 22 points over his final 16 games. Marcus Johansson blossomed into a special secondary scorer down the stretch. Mike Green (head) looks like he’ll finally return to the lineup and suit up for Washington in Game 1.

The Capitals have also remedied a few previous weaknesses by the looks of it. Goaltending has been Washington’s Achilles’ heel in the past but, between Semyon Varlamov, Michael Neuvirth and youngster Braden Holtby, you have to think someone can step up and get the job done. They all looked brilliant for much of this season. Dennis Wideman’s leg probably won’t be healed in time for round one but other young Washington defenders like John Carlson have improved with an extra year of experience. Sports Betting at Sportsbook.com

There’s another factor we’ve neglected to discuss so far as well: the Rangers’ offense. The Broadway Blueshirts really struggled to score in late March, tallying one goal or fewer four games in a row at one point. The truth is that New York seriously lacks a reliable scoring threat. Ryan Callahan is out for the year with a broken ankle and Marian Gaborik disappears for stretches at a time despite his immense talent.

I still think this series has the potential to go six or seven games. Even if the Rangers struggle to put the puck in the net, they’re still a top-10 team in goals-against and penalty killing. They have a gritty, workhorse defense with guys like Marc Staal and Dan Girardi, both of whom can eat minutes against the Caps’ best forwards and block shots like crazy.

In the end, though, I don’t think New York quite has the firepower to hang with Washington. Few teams are less threatening offensively than the Rangers. Even though the Caps’ offense on paper has really dried up, it looks as though it – and particularly Ovechkin – could catch fire at just the right time.

Capitals vs Rangers series prediction: Capitals in 7

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About Shea Matthews

Shea Matthews the Senior Writer at CP. Lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national papers. Shea applies his knowledge to sports betting + handicapping daily, and shares winning picks with the world.


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