NHL Picks: Saturday's Best Value Goes to the Home Team

Steven Suarez

Saturday, May 2, 2015 1:54 PM UTC

Saturday, May. 2, 2015 1:54 PM UTC

Let's recap yesterday's hockey action, examine the NHL odds for today's matchup between the Rangers and Capitals, and look ahead to Sunday's busy day.

The Tampa Bay Lightning secured a huge Game 1 win on the road yesterday, winning 2-1 as underdogs to give them a big-time advantage early on in the series.

A little later on, the Chicago Blackhawks opened their second-round series against the Minnesota Wild with a hard-fought 4-3 victory. Duncan Keith was the top performer once more, assisting on two of Chicago's goals in the Game 1 win.

For Saturday, we've only got one game on the agenda, and that will be between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. Let's break down the odds.


New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals
What a tremendous performance we saw from the Capitals, and what a way for them to win. They scored a goal with just under two seconds to go to give them the 2-1 victory and subsequent control of the series.

Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring early with a goal a few minutes into the first period, and it wasn't until relatively late in the third period that the Rangers were able to even up the honors. The game looked like it was destined to go to overtime, but Washington had other ideas, getting a goal from Joel Ward (assisted by Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom) practically as time expired. It was a thrilling finish, though a lot of credit should go to Braden Holtby, who stood on his head in net and kept the Capitals within striking distance. He stopped 31 of 32 shots that came his way.

Will we see a positive response from the Rangers in Game 2? They have to be heartbroken after losing in that kind of fashion, but the series is still young and there's plenty of hockey left to be played. The NHL odds board shows New York as a strong -160 favorite, so it's clear oddsmakers are liking their chances of evening up the series.

And, we're inclined to agree. The Capitals did all the right things in the first game and pulled off the stunner at the end, but we believe the Rangers are going to come out fired up, knowing they can't afford to go down 0-2, especially with the series then shifting to the nation's capital. This is a must-win game for New York and we expect a highly-focused effort from the start.

Typically we don't like to lay this kind of number on the moneyline, but sometimes we have to play it safe, and that's what we intend to do here. It may not be easy - after all, this is the playoffs - but we do feel as if New York will do enough to earn the Game 2 victory at home.

NHL Pick: New York Rangers -160 is your NHL pick.

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Sunday Look-Ahead
The action heats up on Sunday, with three playoff games on the schedule. 

It starts in Montreal, where the Canadiens will try to bounce back after a Game 1 loss at home. They're listed as -125 favorites right now to get the job done.

We'll then have Chicago and Minnesota renew their rivalry, and once again the home team is the favorite. The Blackhawks can be backed at a price of around -135.

To wrap things up, Anaheim will once again be a massive favorite (-200 or so) at home to Calgary. The Ducks were rampant in the first game of the series and are expected to breeze to another win late Sunday night and therefore go up 2-0 in the series.

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