Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Rangers (6/7/22) Betting Odds, Prediction, Line Combination, Starting Goalies
When the Rangers went up 2-0 in the second period of Game 3, this series looked to be wrapped up. New York was ready to steal a game in Tampa and go up 3-0 in the series.
The Lightning did what they do – they responded. After Tampa’s first set of back-to-back playoff losses in 17 attempts in Game 2, they rallied with two successful Power Plays and a last-minute goal to keep the season alive.
Igor Shesterkin was terrific yet again, but it wasn’t quite enough. The Rangers’ kids looked worn out and the offense couldn’t convert in 5-on-5 play.
Can New York win a game in Tampa? Or will Andrei Vasilevskiy prove his worth on his home ice yet again?
Let’s dive into the betting odds and my prediction for this Game 4 matchup.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Rangers Betting Odds
The Lightning continue to be huge favorites game after game, despite that the Rangers have proven they can hang with the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions.
At -175 across the market, Tampa seems to be way overpriced. And at +150 across the market, the Rangers seem to be way undervalued.
Yet, the money continues to pour in for Tampa. At the time of this writing, over 65% of the handle is with the Lightning.
I still think the under 5.5 is worth a look, although the sharp money is with the over. While the tickets are split 50/50, almost 90% of the handle is on the over.
Tampa Bay Lightning Analysis
The Lightning completely took over the third period. They managed to sneak two goals past the impossibly hot Shesterkin, and the Expected Goal differential in that period alone won the Lightning the game.
Image credit: Money Puck
While the Lightning once again dominated in shots (52-30), they were much better in possession. They split the faceoffs and cut way down on their giveaways. New York controlled the pace in Game 2 – and for the first half of Game 3 – before the Lightning stole it back.
However, the biggest improvement was in the Power Play and the Penalty Kill. This was a super chippy game, and several guys spent more than a few minutes in the box. Generally, the Rangers have the advantage in 5-on-4 or 4-on-5 situations, while the Lightning are much better when it’s even strength.
The Lightning converted two of their four Power Play opportunities and held the Rangers to just two goals on five Penalty Kill shifts. That’s the big difference in the game because the Rangers’ 5-on-5 unit can not keep up with the Lightning.
New York Rangers Analysis
The Rangers were under attack all night.
They took 52 shots. Shesterkin saved 49 in a heroic performance – easily cashing his over 31.5 saves prop along the way – but the Rangers blocked 19 shots on top of that. They held their own for as long as they could, but eventually, the Lightning broke through (as they have done so many times.
The Power Play unit was fine, but the Penalty Kill unit was finally outplayed. And while they managed to pour 30 shots on Vasilevskiy, he saved 28 with a 1.48 Goals Saved Above Expected mark.
Mika Zibanejad is on one. He posted another two-point performance with five shots in 23 minutes of ice time. Although he wasn’t the Rangers’ best player, because Artemi Panarin recorded two assists on the way to recording the best Game Score of any New York skater.
Shesterkin is still the best goalie in the NHL. But the Rangers need to get something going in 5-on-5, specifically on defense. Winning the faceoff battle convincingly – as they did in Game 3 – may allow them to re-control the pace of this series.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Rangers Picks & Prediction
My pick: Under 5.5 (-124 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
The main adjustment I expect New York to make is to slow down the pace of this hockey game. The Rangers are going to want to muck things up for the Lightning in 5-on-5 play, and they want to control the possession on the other end.
Additionally, I’m banking on another masterclass from Shesterkin, who is in the zone right now. Vasilevskiy should hold his own as well, especially on his home ice.
The under finally hit in Game 3 even though Tampa poured on 52 shots. With a slightly slower pace and a similar defensive performance from everyone involved, we’re looking at a 2-1 hockey game.
Try to get the under 5.5 at -130 or better.