Washington Capitals at New York Rangers (-150, 5)
THE STORY: Chris Kreider has quickly become a big hit on Broadway. The New York Rangers rookie had the game winner in the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinal series with Washington on Saturday, and will look to continue his impressive stretch as the teams renew acquaintances for Game 2 on Monday. New York used its trademark shot blocking and solid goaltending from Hart Trophy candidate Henrik Lundqvist to strike first in the best-of-seven.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCS, CBC
ABOUT THE CAPITALS: Rookie netminder Braden Holtby was the toast of DC after leading Washington to an upset of the defending-champion Boston Bruins in the first round, but he looked ordinary in Saturday's series opener against the Rangers. New York's two third-period goals were on shots Holtby felt he should have stopped. “Obviously I wasn’t real happy with it. It was a tough game, mentally wise, and I didn’t do a good enough job," he said. "Just crucial parts of the game. Those goals in the third, those are goals that I’d like to have back." Holtby is expected to get the Game 2 start.
ABOUT THE RANGERS: It hasn't taken New York fans long to jump on the Kreider bandwagon. Throngs of fans chanted his name after his third-period goal sent New York to the victory. "It was a surreal experience. I got goose bumps obviously," said Kreider, playing in just his sixth career NHL game. "I was really tired after the goal but didn’t feel so tired when they started chanting." It wasn't all good news for the Rangers, who won despite doing little at the offensive end. New York had just eight shots through the first two periods - and only three of those came from forwards.
- The home team is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings between the two teams.
- The under is 2-0-2 in the last four meetings between the two teams.
- New York is 16-5 in its last 21 vs. Southeast division opponents.
1. Capitals RW Alex Ovechkin, who led Washington with 38 goals, had just one shot in more than 21 minutes of ice time in Game 1.
2. Rangers D Steve Eminger, a former Capital, returned to the lineup for the first time since spraining his ankle March 15. He finished with 4:25 of ice time.
3. Lundqvist became just the third Rangers goalie to win 20 playoff games, joining Mike Richter (41) and Ed Giacomin (29).
Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues (-160, 4.5)
THE STORY: The Los Angeles Kings upended the St. Louis Blues in the opener of their Western Conference semifinal series by beating their opponents at their own game. The Kings will look to repeat the feat Monday night as they visit St. Louis for Game 2 of the best-of-seven set. The Blues surged into the conference elite on the strength of solid defense and sensational goaltending - qualities Los Angeles exhibited in a 3-1 win in the series opener.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, CNBC, TSN
ABOUT THE KINGS: Los Angeles is no defensive slouch itself, finishing second to the Blues in goals against in the entire conference. But while many expected the Kings' offense to struggle against St. Louis, it found just enough punch - paced by a shorthanded goal from defenseman Matt Greene - to draw first blood. Kings captain Dustin Brown credited his club with limiting St. Louis' offensive opportunities and atoning for early defensive miscues. "For whatever reason, we gave those chances up," he said. "But I think we did a pretty good job of correcting those mistakes and limiting their grade-A scoring chances the rest of the game.''
ABOUT THE BLUES: St. Louis may be without one of its key defensemen for Game 2. Alex Pietrangelo left Saturday's game with a possible concussion after he was rammed into the boards by Kings rookie Dwight King. He returned briefly before departing again, and is considered questionable for Monday. Blues forward Andy McDonald, who has missed significant time with a concussion himself, wasn't a fan of the hit. "He was in a dangerous area there, obviously," McDonald said. "You're four feet from the boards and you get pushed from behind, that's a scary hit. Hopefully he's OK. We'll have to wait and see."
- The Kings have won four straight as road underdogs.
- The under is 7-0-1 in the last eight meetings between the two teams.
- St. Louis is 1-4 in the last four meetings between the two teams.
1. St. Louis went 0 for 3 on the power play in Game 1 and is now scoreless in 17 man-advantage opportunities against the Kings so far this season.
2. Pietrangelo finished third on the Blues in scoring during the regular season with 12 goals and 39 assists.
3. Greene's goal was the first shorthanded playoff tally by a Kings defenseman since Rob Blake scored one against Calgary in 1993, the year the Kings reached the finals.