Rangers vs Capitals Picks and Predictions for March 20

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Updated: March 20, 2021

The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals will do battle for the second time in as many nights on Saturday after the Caps stormed back in the third period last night to win 2-1 in regulation. 

The Capitals have been picking up wins at will of late, as they’ve lost just once in their last 11 matches. They sit two points ahead of the Islanders for the top spot in the East Division with a game in hand.

Here are our free picks and predictions for New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals for Saturday, March 20 (7:00 p.m. ET).

New York Rangers at Washington Capitals betting preview

Injuries

Rangers: Igor Shesterkin G (Questionable). 
Capitals: Lars Eller F (Out).  
Find our latest NHL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Rangers are 0-4 SU in their last four games on the second match of a back-to-back. Find more NHL betting trends for Rangers vs. Capitals.

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The line opened at Washington -141, with the total at 5.5. Early action slightly favored New York and the Over. Check back later for a full report from Patrick!

Check out the full line movement for this game

Moneyline pick

Heading into the series, the Capitals have been one of the hottest teams in hockey with 11 wins across their last 12 games. They eked out a 2-1 win last night, which included a tying and go-ahead goal in the final seven minutes, and were outshot 33-18. It wasn’t the best performance, but the Capitals still picked up two points and forced the Rangers into low-scoring opportunities, as New York managed just 2.55 expected goals.

Washington now sits two points ahead of the Islanders in the East Division with a game in hand, and gets to unpack the suitcase as its next four games will be at home. The Rangers have fallen in the standings and could possibly finish seventh — below the New Jersey Devils. New York has dropped five of its last seven and four of its last five on the road.

With Alex Georgiev and Vitek Vanecek starting Friday’s game, we’ll likely see Ilya Samsonov for the Caps and possibly Igor Shesterkin for the Rags. The advantage in net belongs to Washington as Samsonov has won each of his four starts since returning to the lineup and has stopped 115 of the 106 shots he’s faced (0.922 SV%). Shesterkin has not played since March 4 due to a strained groin — a possibly lingering injury.

Washington has been a much better home team this season with a 10-3-2 record at Capital One Arena, which gives them a Top-5 point percentage in the league. They are winning games in Washington and a lot of that has to do with the offense.

At home, the Caps are scoring 3.50 goals per game which is good for the eighth-best mark, but it has been the power play that has propelled the success. 

Of the 35 times with the man advantage at home this year, Washington has scored an astounding 16 times which is good for a league-best 46 percent success rate — eight percent higher than the next-best team. This could be bad news for an undisciplined Rangers team that takes four penalties per game, which is the sixth-most in the league.

The Capitals are also expected to get the services of Tom Wilson (suspension) for Saturday. Very few players in the league possess the skillset that Wilson has as the hard-checking top-six forward is a near-point-per-game player with 17 in 21 games this year. Wilson also spends time on both special team units which is another boost for the Caps. 

Washington’s Alex Ovechkin just passed Phil Esposito on the league’s all-time goal list and sits 13 goals away from tying Marcel Dione for fifth all-time after potting another two last night. We expect the Russian rocket to continue his assault on the NHL’s scoring leaders. Ovi has 38 goals in 62 career games against the Rangers and nearly a point per game. 

We like the Great Eight to lead one of the league’s best home offenses against a young and penalty-prone Rangers team that could be starting a goalie coming off a groin injury.

PREDICTION: Washington 3-way ML (+100)

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Over/Under pick

The Capitals are the league’s second-best Over team at 16-12 O/U and finished last season as the best home Over team with a 24-8-1 O/U mark. Games are averaging 6.64 total goals at Capital One Arena in 2021.

Washington’s likely starter, Illya Samsonov, has been bailed out by Washington’s strong offense of late. The goalie has allowed three or more goals in two of his last three outings, with the Over hitting in both games. 

With the Capitals squeaking out a win in a mediocre performance last night, we’d expect the first-place team to come out a little stronger, and when this offense rolls, it’s among the best in the league. 

The Caps’ league-best home power play only had two chances on Friday (0-for-2) but with Tom Wilson’s return, we could see the PP take shape again and maybe have more opportunities as the forward’s presence on the ice creates a more physical game – and more penalties.

Shesterkin hasn’t played in two weeks since a groin injury sidelined him, and if the young goalie is unable to go, New York will likely start third-string Keith Kinkaid, who is coming off a game where he allowed five goals to the Flyers on Monday.

The Over in Washington has been one of our favorite auto-plays, and coming off an Under, we like it even more on Saturday night. At 5.5, it feels like a treat from the books as the total closed at 6.5 yesterday.

PREDICTION: Over 5.5 (-116)

Rangers vs Capitals betting card

  • Washington 3-way ML (+100)
  • Over 5.5 (-116)

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