Igor Shesterkin (31) of the New York Rangers leads the team out to play against the Washington Capitals during an NHL hockey game Monday, May 3, 2021, in New York. (Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo via AP)
- The Washington Capitals open their schedule Wednesday as they host the New York Rangers as slim home favorites
- The Capitals have dominated the youthful Rangers in recent seasons, but face injury trouble as the season gets underway
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of Wednesday night’s Metropolitan Division matchup at Capital One Arena
The New York Rangers kick off their NHL campaign amid high expectations when they visit the Washington Capitals as slim road underdogs in the NHL betting lines.
The Rangers face a veteran Capitals squad that will be shorthanded when they kick off their schedule on Wednesday night at 7:30pm ET at Capital One Arena, with a Metropolitan Division clash that kicks off TNT’s television coverage of NHL regular season action.
Rangers vs Capitals Odds
|Game Time (ET)||Team||Puck Line||Total||Moneyline|
|Wednesday October 13||New York Rangers||+1.5 (-225)||Ov 6 (-120)||+110|
|7:30pm||Washington Capitals||-1.5 (+185)||Un 6 (+100)||-130|
*Odds at DraftKings as of October 12, 2021.
Rangers Poised to Take Next Step
After falling short of a playoff spot during the abbreviated 2021 NHL season, the Rangers return to action aiming to take the next step. New York is set to return with the core of last season’s roster largely intact.
Once again, Artemi Panarin is expected to lead the Rangers’ assault. The crafty Russian made a strong case as a candidate for the Hart Trophy last season, racking up 58 points in just 42 games, including 11 points in seven meetings with the Capitals. He sits among the favorites as a +1800 bet in the Hart Trophy odds to claim honors as league MVP this time around.
13 SAVES for Igor Shesterkin in the first period 🛑🤴 pic.twitter.com/TZxT7oVG5M
— Rangers on MSG (@RangersMSGN) October 6, 2021
The blue line corps will once again be anchored by last season’s Norris Trophy winner Adam Fox. However, it will be the continued progress of young goaltender Igor Shesterkin that will likely be key to the club’s chances of paying out as a short -190 wager in the NHL playoff odds.
Winners in just one of their past four season openers, the Rangers also have some work to do to overcome their recent struggles against Washington when they hit the ice on Wednesday as +110 underdogs.
The club posted wins in just two of their final six dates with the Caps last season, and has taken home the victory in just two of their past 10 regular season visits to the nation’s capital.
New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals Recent Results
|May 5, 2021||Capitals 4 at Rangers 2|
|May 3, 2021||Capitals 6 at Rangers 3|
|March 30, 2021||Capitals 2 at Rangers 5|
|March 28, 2021||Rangers 4 at Capitals 5|
|March 20, 2021||Rangers 3 at Capitals 1|
Injuries a Concern in Washington
While the youthful Rangers will be eager to open their campaign with a statement victory, the Capitals return to action looking to rebound from yet another playoff disappointment.
Just three years removed from their Stanley Cup victory, Washington kicks off the new season at a crossroads. The Capitals have failed to win a playoff series in the three years since raising Lord Stanley’s Mug, capped by a stunning collapse in their first-round series with Boston this past summer.
— Toronto Sun (@TheTorontoSun) October 12, 2021
With their veteran lineup now another year older, time is running out on the Capitals, who looked to Wednesday’s contest as narrow -130 favorites.
Complicating matters for the club are injuries to key personnel. Washington will open the season without center Niklas Backstrom, who is sidelined indefinitely with a hip injury. The status of team captain Alex Ovechkin also remains questionable as the Great 8 struggles with a lower body injury.
The Capitals also have plenty of work to do to overcome a disappointing performance in preseason action. The club kicked off their September schedule with four straight losses before rebounding last week to post narrow victories over Philadelphia and Boston.
Alex Ovechkin skated a few laps testing his lower body injury before Capitals optional practice, went back to the locker room and is back on the ice. Stay tuned for this developing story. pic.twitter.com/AO5POKMpTI
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) October 12, 2021
Like the Rangers, Washington will be counting on a youthful Russian netminder to take the next step in his development.
Ilya Samsonov was steady while racking up a respectable 13-4-0 record in limited appearances last season. But like the rest of the club, Samsonov struggled down the stretch, allowing over three goals per game in his final nine regular season outings, a run that started with a narrow 5-4 home win over the Rangers.
With the Capitals licking their wounds, look for the Rangers to seize opportunities as they record the upset win.
The Pick: Rangers to win (+110)
Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.