2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Prediction Round 2

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 Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers

After just squeaking by the Islanders, the Capitals (M-2) take aim at New York’s other team. The Rangers (M-1) who are coming off of a lackluster 5 game series win over the shorthanded Penguins, will need to play better against a much more talented Washington team.

The Washington Capitals, coming off of their best game of the postseason, must continue to keep it going against the Rangers. Braden Holtby had a very average series for the Caps and will need to elevate his game if the Caps want to advance. New York boasts a very talented and deep forward corps, and arguably the best all-around team in the final 8.

Taking a look at the season series, the Rangers went 3-1 against the Caps, winning each game by 2 goals. The last two times these teams played in the postseason, Washington was bested by New York both times in game 7.  The Washington Capitals have geared up for this moment, adding Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen during free agency. The Rangers made moves of their own, the biggest being the acquisition of Keith Yandle.

When comparing rosters, you have to give the goaltending edge to the Rangers. To Holtby’s credit, he’s had a fantastic year and can easily out duel King Henrik. I’m going with the guy who’s proven to do it consistently in Henrik Lundqvist. On the blue line, the Rangers boast a huge advantage as they have 6 very good defense-men. Up front, Washington wins the superstar battle with Ovechkin/Backstrom but the Rangers boast more depth and balanced scoring.

The big question will be whether or not the Rangers/Capitals can neutralize goal scoring leaders Rick Nash and Alex Ovechkin. In what I think will be a low scoring affair, I’m going to give a very slight edge to the Rangers. Rangers in 7.