Washington Capitals (15-12-2) at New York Rangers (15-14-1)
|Date & Time||Sunday December 8, 2013, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: New York Rangers -168 / Washington Capitals +153 --- Over/Under: 5
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Head coach Alain Vigneault must be going crazy with the inconsistency of his hockey club to start the year. After an awful start to the season, the New York Rangers bounced back nicely and put a solid streak together, only to fall back to being an average hockey club of late. On Saturday night against the New Jersey Devils, Vigneault watched his club lose for the sixth consecutive time when having a chance to move to two games over .500 on the season. The Rangers began a franchise record nine-game home stand against the Devils with their first overtime game of the season. New York jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Brad Richards and Mats Zuccarello, but the game changed in the second period. The Devils were credited with a goal on a play where the puck was clearly kicked into the net, but officials ruled it a goal on the ice and weren't able to overturn the call with clear evidence. New Jersey controlled the game from that point on, tying the game in the third period and taking the lead late to stun the crowd. The Rangers would rally, capitalizing on a 6-on-4 power play with the goalie pulled as Chris Kreider scored his seventh goal of the season to steal New York a point. Ryan Callahan was whistled for a double minor high sticking penalty early in overtime and the Devils wasted no time scoring the winning goal off the ensuing faceoff. The 4-3 loss was a disappointing one for a club that really wants to use this home stand to gain some traction.
The Washington Capitals come into this one winners of three of their last four and coming off a good win on home ice against the Nashville Predators on Saturday night. Troy Brouwer, Alex Ovechkin, and Karl Alzer scored first period goals for the Capitals who never looked back in this one. Nate Schmidt scored his first goal of the season early in the third period and Eric Fehr added his fourth as the Capitals cruised to a 5-2 victory in this one. Braden Holtby got the start and made 34 saves to pick up his 13th win of the season. These two teams have tons of history in recent years and neither one likes each other all that much. Typically we've seen some more defensive games between these two clubs but with some coaching changes thrown in for each organization their philosohies have changed a bit. New York has to find a way to get a victory in this one because they can't let this home stand get off to a bad start in front of a fan base that won't tolerate it. Still, this number is too much to play on a New York club that's facing their equal right now and that's getting some pretty good value here.