NHL Betting: Rangers, Caps clash in Stanley Cup playoff series

After a slow start to this abbreviated NHL regular-season the Washington Capitals finished with a flourish, winning 11 of their last 13 games and the Southeast Division title.

The New York Rangers stumbled through most of this season, and for a long time played in danger of missing the playoffs. But a 9-3-1 finish got New York to the NHL's second season.

So it's two teams who've been playing some of their better hockey lately meeting when the Caps (27-18-3) and Rangers (26-18-4) begin a best-of-seven first-round NHL playoff series with Game 1 Thursday night in downtown DC (7:30 pm ET, NBCS/TSN/CSMA).

As of Thursday morning Washington was listed as a -130 favorite for Game 1, with an OVER/UNDER of five goals.

But most hockey betting outlets were lining New York as the favorite to win this series, at around -115, with the Caps “getting” -105 or so as the underdogs.

That might be, in part, because the Rangers took the season series from Washington two games to one, outscoring the Caps in real goals 8-4.

As of Thursday morning on the NHL futures market Washington was getting 8/1 to win the East and 16/1 to win the Stanley Cup, while New York was getting 17/2 to win the East and 18/1 to win the Cup.

Also Thursday the Canadiens and Senators begin their first-round series with Game 1 in Montreal; the defending Stanley Cup champion LA Kings, down 0-1, play a Game 2 in St. Louis; and the Ducks, up 1-0, and Red Wings play their Game 2 in Anaheim.

As of Thursday morning the Canadiens were favored by -150 to win that series opener Thursday night, and by -145 to win the series, with underdog Ottawa getting +125.

Friday night the Blackhawks and Wild, with Chicago up 1-0, play their Game 2 at the United Center.  The teams then move to Minneapolis for Games 3 and 4 Sunday and Tuesday.

Also Friday the Penguins and Islanders, with Pittsburgh coming off a 5-0 Game 1 victory Wednesday night, play their Game 2 at the CEC, before moving to Long Island for Games 3 and 4 Sunday and Tuesday.

And the Canucks and Sharks, with San Jose up 1-0, play their Game 2 Friday night in Vancouver, before moving South for Games 3 and 4 Sunday and Tuesday.

Then among Saturday's action the Bruins and Maple Leafs, with Boston up 1-0, play their Game 2 at the Garden, before moving north of the border for Games 3 and 4 Monday and Wednesday.

Elsewhere on the early NHL playoff futures boards Pittsburgh was favored to win the Eastern Conference at odds of 3/2, followed by Boston at 4/1, Montreal at 11/2, Toronto at 12/1, Ottawa at 14/1 and the Islanders at 18/1.

Chicago was a 7/4 favorite to win the Western Conference, followed by Anaheim at 11/2, Vancouver at 13/2, St. Louis at 7/1, Los Angeles at 15/2, San Jose at 8/1, Minnesota at 10/1 and Detroit at 14/1.

Finally, the Penguins were 7/2 favorites to win the Stanley Cup, followed by the Blackhawks at 15/4, the Bruins at 17/2, the Ducks and Canadiens at 12/1, the Kings and Blues at 14/1, the Sharks at 16/1, the Leafs at 20/1, the Wild at 22/1, the Wings and Senators at 28/1 and the Islanders at 40/1.


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