Ottawa Senators @ New York Rangers – Madison Square Garden at 00:30
My latest NHL Handicap Betting preview focuses on the Ottawa-NY Rangers series. The Senators are 3-2 up and have the chance to close out the contest on away ice. However they have found the Madison Square Garden a bit of conundrum so far as they have lost emphatically on both occasions. Will it be third-time lucky for the Sens at The Garden?
Success in Canada’s capital
It has been a strong campaign for the Ottawa Senators this year. Not many would have envisaged them being one win away from making the conference finals. Guy Boucher alongside Marc Crawford have done a sterling job on fixing the issues that cost head coach Dave Cameron his position last summer.
All eyes will be on Erik Karlsson to lead his team to their first conference finals in ten years. The two-time Norris winner has also proved his worth to the team in the postseason as he leads Ottawa in points (11 in 11 games). Other players have also stepped up to the mark, namely Derrick Brassard and Bobby Ryan. The latter missed twenty games in the regular season due to injury and will be eager for his season to continue until next month.
Window closing for the Rangers
Can the New York Rangers show their mettle and experience to earn a game 7? Judging by their form on home ice this series, it seems highly possible. Nevertheless this is an elimination game and a early goal or two from the Sens will disrupt the atmosphere at The Garden.
One would suggest that the experience factor would see the Rangers force a game 7 tonight. Bar last year with their first-round elimination to the Penguins, New York have had deep runs in the playoffs in the past five years. During this period the franchise have reached the conference finals twice (2012 and ’15) and the Stanley Cup finals in 2014. The old adage ‘close, but no cigar’ sums up the Blueshirts’ near misses over the years. Seasoned players such as Ryan McDonagh, Rick Nash and Henrik Lundqvist will be desperate to rectify their fortunes. The only trophy missing from Lundqvist’s storied career is the Stanley Cup. The goaltender who turned 35 in March has rolled back the years with a strong postseason (.930% SV and 2.18 GAA). He’ll need no telling that the window for him to achieve this goal is decreasing rapidly.
As aforementioned in my introduction, the Rangers have steamrolled Ottawa both times on Broadway. With the line at –0.5 on the AH market, there is profit to be made with New York at 2.01 to win in regulation as opposed to Ottawa at +0.5 at 1.90. I’m unsure as to whether it will be another blowout win for the Rangers on home ice but I’m expecting them to force a game 7.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: New York Rangers –0.5 at 2.01 (excluding OT)
Prices correct at time of writing
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