At the onset of the 2021-22 NHL season are plenty of questions. Specifically, about the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. New York stunned the hockey world last spring by firing its entire front office. Now Chris Drury is the general manager with Gerard Gallant as head coach. Rangers’ chairman James Dolan believes it's time for the Broadway Blueshirts to make the playoffs. Thus, the pressure is on full blast. Meanwhile, gamblers ask if the Caps are dedicated to winning another Stanley Cup or more to Alex Ovechkin breaking the NHL goal-scoring record.
The Washington Capitals will host the New York Rangers at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. This game will take place on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 7:30 p.m. ET, with television coverage on TNT.
On this occasion, there will be plenty of fanboy money on the Capitals. Casual fans know of Alex Ovechkin and still associate Washington as a good team because of their 2018 Stanley Cup championship. Further, squares are always most comfortable with power teams and their superstars on home ice. Of course, the Rangers have a large generational fan base. Wise Guys will look hard at the Broadway Blueshirts based on price and their offensive firepower.
On the injury front, Capitals goaltender Ilya Samsonov is day-to-day with a lower body issue. At the same time, Niklas Backstrom is trying to return to the Caps from a hip injury.
New York Rangers
Rangers coach Gerard Gallant is best known for two things. First, having to hail a cab on the street after getting fired on the road by the Florida Panthers. Second, for leading the first-year expansion Vegas Golden Knights to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. Gallant is respected for his high wire act of being a demanding player’s coach. At the beginning of the season, Gallant understands that Dolan demands the playoffs.
New York was a near-miss for the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Dolan changed management and coaches out of frustration for the Rangers' soft image. It is true that New York lacked sandpaper when they needed it most. Thus, Drury was hired to acquire some nastiness.
Center Mika Zibanejad is one of the Rangers’ many players with skill and speed. Last year he scored a team-high 24 goals to go with 26 assists. Left wing Artemi Panarin led the Rangers with 17 goals and 41 assists with a plus-14. And then goaltender Igor Shesterkin posted a .916 save percentage and 2.62 goals against average.
Second year head coach Peter Laviolette did marginally improve the Capitals back checking in 2020-21. However, in the playoffs, Washington was found lacking. The Capitals couldn’t tighten up when it mattered most. Also, Washington lacked reliable goal scoring and defensive depth.
Naturally, Ovechkin led the Capitals in goal scoring with 24 to go with 18 assists. However, the Great Eight is going back to his old ways with an ugly minus-7. That eyesore was among the worst on the team.
Defenseman John Carlson is one of the NHL’s top quarterbacks. To show, Carlson had ten goals with 34 assists in 2020-21. Also, he added three goals and 12 assists on the power play.
Goaltender Ilya Samsonov is coming off an inconsistent season. For example, His save percentage was a pedestrian .902 in the regular season and .899 in the playoffs. Vitek Vanecek was a little better with a .908 save percentage in the regular season but played only 13 minutes in the playoffs.
New York vs. Washington Prediction
In this situation, the Rangers make for a good value opportunity. Washington will be an overpriced home team. Of great concern are the Capitals' unreliable back check, defense, and goaltending.
BookMaker Pick: New York Rangers
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