Stake.com Eddie's predictions for 202316 Jan 2023 Read More
Washington Capitals at New York Rangers Tuesday 27th December
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The New York Rangers play host to the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden in what looks set to be a cracking post-Christmas game, with both teams very much in the playoff hunt.
The Rangers hold genuine hopes of ending their near 30-year Stanley Cup drought and look primed for another assault, having lost in the Eastern Conference finals last season. Gerard Gallant's men are lying third in the Metropolitan Division, at the time of writing, but there is still plenty of work to do as they have played more games than all bar two other teams.
The Capitals have won only seven of their first 18 away games. One of those teams happens to be the Capitals, who can ill-afford too many more slip-ups as they are down in sixth place in the division and outside the playoff places, albeit on the same points as the New York Islanders, who have played one game less.
Artemi Panarin has been key for the Rangers so far this season, leading the team in points (40) and assists (32), while Mika Zibanejad tops their goalscoring charts with 15. However, they will be coming up against one of the best of all time when Alexander Ovechkin rolls into town with Washington.
The Russian winger has already scored 20 goals this season to see him hit the 800-goal mark for his career, bettered by only two other players in NHL history, and he might have surpassed Gordie Howe's 801 by the time he takes to the ice at Madison Square Garden. Wayne Gretzky's all-time best of 894 goals will still take some catching for the Capitals' superstar.
Washington have not fared too well on the road though, winning just seven of their 18 away games and the Rangers may just have the edge in this game, having won the last two meetings between the sides, both of which were at Madison Square Garden.