New York Rangers Vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (6/5/22) Betting Odds, Prediction, Line Combination, Starting Goalies

At Madison Square Garden on Friday night, the New York Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-2 to take a 2-0 series advantage in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Igor Shesterkin made 29 saves for New York while K’Andre Miller and Kaapo Kakko each scored a goal for the victorious Rangers.

New York is currently listed at +260 to win the Stanley Cup this season.  The Rangers last championship was 1993-94 when they beat the Vancouver Canucks, their only Stanley Cup victory since 1940.  The Lightning have won 10 straight playoff series.  Tampa Bay has captured the last two Stanley Cups and is currently +700 to win their third consecutive title; the last team to do so was the New York Islanders who won four straight Stanley Cups; 1979-80 through 1982-83. 

New York Rangers Vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Betting Odds

The Rangers are -260 to beat the Lightning and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2013-14 when they lost to the Los Angeles Kings.  New York is 4-1 in their last five games following a win.  Under is 8-3-1 in the Rangers last 12 playoff games as an underdog.  New York is 17-38 in their last 55 playoff games as an underdog.  Tampa Bay is +210 to beat New York and advance to their third consecutive Stanley Cup Final.  The Lightning are 9-4 in their last 13 playoff games as a favorite.  Under is 3-1-1 in Tampa Bay’s last five Conference Finals games.  Over is 8-3 in the Lightning’s last 11 games as a home favorite.

New York Rangers Analysis

Igor Shesterkin was 36-13-4 with a .935 save percentage (first in the league) and a 2.07 GAA (first in the NHL) in the 2021-22 regular season.  Through 16 playoff games this year, the New York’s goaltender has a .929 save percentage (540 saves on 581 shot attempts) and a 2.60 GAA.  Shesterkin is +500 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy this season.

Adam Fox has been phenomenal this postseason for New York and has firmly entrenched himself as one of the best defensemen in the NHL.  He had two assists in the Rangers Game Two victory over the Lightning.  Fox is the first Rangers defenseman with at least 10 playoff assists or more in a season since Ryan McDonagh had 13 in 2014.  The 23-year-old is tied for the club lead in playoff scoring with 22 points (five goals and 17 assists). The 2020-21 Norris Trophy winner is +1400 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy has playoff MVP.

Mika Zibanejad finished the season as the Rangers second leading scorer with 81 points (29 goals and 52 assists) and led New York in plus/minus at +30.  He scored a goal in the New York’s win over Tampa Bay on Friday.  Zibanejad extended his home goal streak to six games. Only three players have a longer streak in a playoff year (Guy Lafleur, eight games in 1979; Paul Coffey, seven games in 1985; Reggie Leach, seven games in 1976), per NHL.com.  He has 11 points (six goals, five assists) during his seven-game point scoring streak.  The center is tied for the team lead in postseason scoring with 22 points (nine goals and 13 assists). The Rangers number 93 is +900 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Chris Kreider scored 52 goals this year, third in the NHL.  New York’s number 20 led the NHL in power play goals with 26.  On Friday evening, he had two assists in the Rangers win; Kreider has 14 points this postseason (nine goals and five assists).  In his 10th season, he’s +3000 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.  Andrew Copp has been fantastic in his first postseason with New York; after coming over via a trade in March.  In 16 postseason games he has 13 points (six goals and seven assists).  Artemi Panarin was New York’s leading scorer in the regular season with 96 points.  Overall, in the 2021-22 postseason he has 13 points (five goals and eight assists).  The 30-year-old is +3500 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy this year.

Tampa Bay Lightning Analysis

Nikita Kucherov played in 47 games this season after missing the beginning of the season due to injury and was the club’s third leading scorer with 69 points (25 goals and 44 assists).  The 2018-19 Hart Trophy winner is Tampa Bay’s leading scorer in the playoffs with 17 points (five goals and 12 assists); he scored a goal in the Lightning’s loss to the Rangers on Friday.  Kucherov is +2000 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP this season. 

Steven Stamkos led the team in goals with 42 and points with 106 points during the regular season.  The center had 16 power play goals and an incredible 11 game winning goals in 2021-22.  The two-time Stanley Cup champion has ten points (five goals and five assists) in 13 playoff contests this year; third on the team in postseason scoring.  The Lightning captain is +5000 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.  Ondrej Palat had 49 points during the regular season, he has nine points this postseason (five goals and four assists).  He’s also a +3 and averaging 16:33 of ice time per playoff contest.  Ross Colton has played well at center throughout the playoffs for the Lightning.  He’s scored five goals in 13 postseason games and dished out three assists. 

Victor Hedman was the second leading scorer for Tampa Bay in 2021-22 with 85 points (20 goals and 65 assists).  The 2017-18 Norris Trophy winner is second on the Lightning in postseason scoring with 11 points (two goals and nine assists).  Additionally, Hedman is averaging 25:01 of ice time per contest in the playoffs. He’s +3500 to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Andrei Vasilevskiy, the 2018-19 Vezina Trophy winner was 39-18-5 with a 2.49 GAA in 63 games this season.  The Lightning’s number 88 has allowed nine goals on 62 shots in the two games of the Eastern Conference Finals vs. the Rangers; he allowed three goals on 154 shots in a four-game sweep of the Florida Panthers in the second round.  Through 13 playoff games this year, which he’s 8-5, he has a .921 save percentage (396 saves on 430 shot attempts) and a 2.58 GAA.   The 2020-21 Conn Smythe Trophy winner is +1500 to repeat as Conn Smythe Trophy winner.

New York Rangers Vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Picks & Prediction

The Rangers have scored 57 goals during the 2021-22 playoffs: averaging 3.56 goals per contest New York is 13-3 in their last 16 Sunday games.  Over is 5-2 in the Rangers last seven. Conference Finals contests.  New York is 1-5 in their last 6 games as a road underdog.  Tampa Bay has scored 40 goals this postseason: averaging 3.08 goals per game.  The Lightning are 41-20 in their last 61 Sunday games.  Under is 6-1 in Tampa Bay’s last seven overall.  The home team is 5-2 in the last seven meetings between New York and Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay will be playing Game Three at home in the comforts of Amalie Arena and their passionate fanbase.  I expect Andrei Vasilevskiy to play better in his regular crease than at Madison Square Garden, while stars Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos will feed off the hometown energy and deliver a victory.  I’m picking the Lightning to win a close game, 4-3, as the Rangers behind Igor Shesterkin will make it difficult for Tampa Bay to earn the victory.  The teams will combine for over 5.5 goals as the Lightning do not cover the 1.5 goal spread.

New York Rangers Vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Starting Goalies & Line Combination

Scott is graduate of Hofstra University and has worked in the sports media for over 20 years as a Producer and Writer. His dream is to see the New York Jets one day hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy. He lives outside of Chicago with his wife and two children.

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