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Two intriguing matchups will take place on Monday in the NHL playoffs, as the Phoenix Coyotes will look to finish off the Nashville Predators, and the New York Rangers will host the Washington Capitals in a pivotal Game 5 at Madison Square Garden with the series tied at 2-2. The third-seeded Coyotes won the Western Conference's Pacific Division by two points over the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings, who knocked out the second-seeded St. Louis Blues with a 3-1 victory on Sunday to complete an impressive 4-0 sweep.
Phoenix is a small -115 favorite to advance to the Western Conference Finals at home in Game 5 compared to -105 for the visiting Predators. Nashville dropped the first two games of this series on the road by a combined score of 9-6, including a 4-3 overtime loss in Game 1. The Predators bounced back to win Game 3 at home 2-0 but were then blanked 1-0 by the Coyotes in Game 4 to put themselves on the brink of elimination.
Surprisingly, the road team has won seven of the last 10 meetings between Phoenix and Nashville with the OVER going 5-3-2. The Coyotes are 2-2 in their last four home playoff games since they lost twice to the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime during the previous round.
In the Eastern Conference, the top-seeded Rangers are the lone team of the four with the most points from the regular season left in the postseason. They are facing quite a battle from the seventh-seeded Capitals though following a 3-2 road loss on Saturday. The teams have split the first four games, with each of them winning once on the other's home ice. New York is a -145 favorite while Washington is the +125 underdog.
The Caps have not won two straight against the Rangers since April of last year, as they have alternated wins and losses in each of the past nine meetings. New York lost Game 5 at home in the last round against the eighth-seeded Ottawa Senators to go down 3-2 in that series but obviously won the final two games to advance.
Meanwhile, Washington is 4-1 in its last five playoff road games, winning three straight away from home against the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins to prevent them from repeating before taking Game 2 at MSG. The winner of this series plays the winner between the fifth-seeded Philadelphia Flyers and the sixth-seeded New Jersey Devils, who lead 3-1 with Game 5 scheduled for Tuesday night in Philly.
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