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Rangers Capitals Betting Tips - Braden Holtby Steps Into A Brighter Spotlight In Caps-Rangers Series

Posted by Don Melrose on 5/1/2012 11:23:04 AM

The 2012 NHL Playoffs have been a showcase for young and talented goaltenders, with Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby serving as a prime representative of the trend.

East Semifinals, Game 3 – N.Y. Rangers @ Washington Capitals – Wednesday, May 2
Sports betting line: N/A

Why New York Will Win

When you place your sports bet on an NHL playoff series, you need to realize that young players thrust into the pressure-cooker of elite professional competition can have their moments, but generally find it hard to sustain excellence for multiple playoff series. Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby seized an opportunity when he cracked coach Dale Hunter's lineup in the playoffs, thanks to injuries to the two goaltenders who were in front of him on Washington's depth chart. Few people knew a lot about Holtby, and so the smart and natural inclination was to think that Holtby would get smoked by the defending world champion Boston Bruins in round one.

However, Holtby not only helped Washington to win the series in seven very close games, he actually starred for the Capitals and ushered Boston goalie Tim Thomas out of the postseason with an overtime masterpiece in Game 7. Holtby figured to be overflowing with confidence heading into this series against the Rangers, but his Game 1 showing indicated something entirely different. It's true that this series has a long way to go; nobody knows if it will be a short series or a long one, but Holtby's shaky and uneven display on Saturday, with only 14 shots thrown his way, has to be extremely alarming for the Capitals. The Rangers have to think that as long as they can apply strong pressure in concentrated bursts each time they take the ice in this series, they'll be able to slam the puck past Holtby on a few rushes down the ice. This will increase New York's level of swagger and provide coach John Tortorella's team with the iron-clad conviction that it will not have to court the prospect of defeat in this series.

New York was extended to seven games by eighth-seeded Ottawa in the first round. The Rangers could very well come out of the gates at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., with a lot more mental liberation now that they've overcome a big challenge as a favored team. If New York finds a killer instinct, this game should unfold in a manner that's favorable for the Broadway Blueshirts.

Why Washington Will Win

The online betting analysts who are studying this contest will calmly point out that after Braden Holtby performed poorly in the first round against Boston, giving up four goals in a difficult Game 3 loss, he bounced back with a supremely strong game to revive the Capitals' hopes. Holtby has been a leader, not just a cog in the machine, for this team in the playoffs. Holtby will be energized by playing on home ice in this game, and he should play quite well. That's the best the Capitals can hope for.

Who Will Win?

While Holtby will indeed play well, Henrik Lundqvist is the best goaltender left in the Eastern Conference, without any shadow of a doubt. The Capitals will limit New York to two goals, but the Rangers will give Washington only one score. 2-1, Rangers, is the pick here.

NHL Betting Pick: New York Rangers

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