Can the New York Rangers defend home ice against the surging Tampa Bay Lightning? New York is riding from a high after upsetting the Carolina Hurricanes but the Lightning have won six straight games and 10 straight Stanley Cup Playoffs series. The NHL odds are respectful to the Rangers but our NHL playoff picks for Lightning vs Rangers Game 1 may not be.
The Tampa Bay Lightning haven't had home-ice advantage in the playoffs but that hasn't stopped them from winning. Tampa enters New York as the favorite per the best NHL betting sites. The Lightning have won three straight road games and are 4-2 overall in the playoffs. The Rangers, on the other hand, have only lost once at home and it took three extra periods for it to happen. But the Lightning are their toughest opponent yet.
NHL 2022 Conf. Final Picks: Lightning Should Zap Rangers
The Rangers could be in for a rude awakening here. The NHL's Stanley Cup betting odds aren't too optimistic about their chances either. If New York is to pull off another upset, it will have to first have to defend home ice against Tampa Bay. Winning Game 1 has not been crucial for New York to win but historically, Game 1 winners still go on to win the series three out of every four times.
|Tampa Bay Lightning
|New York Rangers
|Tampa Bay Lightning -1.5
|New York Rangers +1.5
Tampa Bay To Extend Hot Streak
After edging the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay swept its Floridian rivals thanks to some clutch goal-scoring and netminding. As always, the Lightning have made timely offense look easy. Despite getting outchanced and outpossessed in most occasions, the Lightning have outscored their opponents on 5v5.
There is a reason Tampa's expected goal differential and PDO are a lot better than other teams. As long as Tampa maintains one of the other, it will be nigh-impossible to stop. Andrei Vasilevskiy is once again making a strong case for the Conn Smythe Trophy as he was utterly dominant in the last series, allowing just three goals.
Meanwhile, the Lightning are finding many different contributors on offense. You know a team has depth when the likes of Ross Colton and Corey Perry are leading it in goals. Colton, in particular, has a pair of game-winners and has filled in nicely for the injured Brayden Point. Tampa Bay has five players with four or more goals.
This is how Tampa will beat the Rangers. While Igor Shesterkin has also been admirable, he has not been the same indomitable force in the regular season. The Rangers have made up for his slight dip in play by sacrificing themselves: blocking shots, outhustling opponents, and forcing them to make mistakes.
Against Carolina, the Rangers shut down their power play (2-of-18) and held them to a 4.1 shooting percent on 5v5. New York will need to keep it up against Tampa Bay as the Lightning are a lot better at finishing their scoring chances and have a much better goaltender. It may be too much for the Rangers to overcome at first hence why Tampa should roll into the Madison Square Garden and "shock" the Rangers.
Offense Thrives Despite Elite Goaltending
The Bovada sportsbook have the total goals for this one at 5.5, which indicates a low-scoring game. We can't blame the bookies as Shesterkin and Vasilevskiy are the two best netminders in the playoffs. One is going to win the Vezina Trophy and one has already won it plus a Conn Smythe and two rings. However, goaltenders can only do so much and Shesterkin may find himself having an "off night".
Goalies the Rangers have - and will - face in these playoffs:
Tristan Jarry (playing hurt)
One of these guys is not like the others.
— Alex Moretto (@alexjmoretto) May 31, 2022
Shesterkin has some impressive stats against the Lightning: a perfect 3-0-0 career record with a 95.8 save percentage and a shutout. But this isn't the regular season and the Rangers still give up too many scoring chances. The winded Rangers may make too many mistakes, which the Lightning will gladly capitalize on. At least one team has also scored four or more goals in five of their last six meetings. Bank on this trend to continue.