NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Odds Update: Tampa Bay vs NY Rangers, Game 1

For the first time since 2015, the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers will face off in the NHL playoffs as the Rangers host the Lightning in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Wednesday night. Tampa Bay is favored for the game on the NHL odds and for the series.

How to Bet Lightning at Rangers NHL Hockey Odds & TV Info

Season Series

New York won all three games vs. Tampa Bay this year. The last meeting was on March 19, which New York won 2-1 in Tampa. Mika Zibanejad scored a tiebreaking power-play goal with 16 seconds left. Likely Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin started all three in new for the Rangers.  Bolts No. 1 Andrei Vasilevskiy was 0-2-0 with a 3.03 GAA and .875 save percentage. Brian Elliott allowed three goals on 23 shots in his only start, a 4-3 shootout loss on Dec. 31.

Why Bet on Tampa Bay?

Tampa Bay has won six straight games since having their backs against the wall down 3-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs in Round One. The Lightning swept out the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Panthers in Round 2.

Nikita Kucherov led the way for the Lightning in the Second Round with seven points in the four games, scoring two goals and adding five assists. He continues to lead the Bolts in overall playoff scoring with 15 points (4G, 11A) in 10 games. Kucherov owns the Lightning’s all-time playoff records for goals (48), assists (94), points (142), plus/minus (+31), points-per-game (1.15), even-strength goals (33), even-strength points (82), and power-play points (60).

The Lightning have 17 Stanley Cup winners on their roster while the three remaining clubs have six combined. The Rangers and Lightning have met in the postseason once, also during the Conference Finals. Tampa Bay earned a 2-0 shutout win in Game 7 to advance to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, a contest where Lightning netminder Ben Bishop became the third goaltender in NHL history to record multiple Game 7 shutouts in a single postseason (following Patrick Roy in 2002 & Tim Thomas in 2011).

The Lightning-Rangers series will pit two of the League’s top netminders: Andrei Vasilevskiy and Igor Shesterkin. Shesterkin, a first-time Vezina Trophy finalist, posted a league-leading 2.07 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in the regular season – the seventh-best save percentage among all NHL goaltenders since the statistic was officially recorded in 1955-56 (min. 25 GP). Vasilevskiy, meanwhile, was tied for the NHL lead in wins during the regular season (39), marking the fifth consecutive campaign he has led or co-led the League in wins.

Vasilevskiy is one of the greatest postseason goaltenders in NHL history. His .925 career playoff save percentage ties him for third all time (minimum 60 games) with Hall of Famer Dominik Hasek, among others. This postseason, he’s 8-3 with a .932 save percentage and has 6.76 goals saved above average to lead all goalies still playing in the postseason. And that was against the two best offensive teams in the regular season. Since 2020, Vasilevskiy is 10-0 in elimination games, six of the wins by shutout. He’s an integral part of their success.

Tampa Bay played Round 2 without forward Brayden Point, who was injured in Game 7 of the first round vs. Toronto. Point is not expected for Wednesday but perhaps in this series.

Why Bet on NY Rangers?

New York is the No. 2 seed from the Metropolitan Division and will have home-ice advantage against Tampa Bay, the No. 3 seed from the Atlantic Division. The Rangers are in the conference finals for the first time since 2015 thanks to a 6-2 upset win at Carolina on Monday. Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin made 36 saves for a second Game 7 win this postseason.

“Obviously, our goaltender was once again our best player,” said forward Chris Kreider, who scored twice in the victory. Kreider scored his 14th and 15th career goals in games when facing elimination. Only five players in NHL history have as many: Mark Messier (16), Jaromir Jagr (15), Maurice Richard (15), Gilbert Perreault (15) and Williams (15). Kreider surpassed Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin (13) for the most among active skaters. Kreider also became just the fourth Rangers skater to record a multi-goal outing in a Game 7, with the other three all coming in the 1992 Division Semifinals against New Jersey: Adam Graves (2), Messier (2) and Darren Turcotte (2).

Shesterkin gave up two or fewer goals in six of the seven games in the series and won another Game 7, this time on the road. He’s both their last line of defense and their catalyst, as the Rangers feed off his performances when opponents tip the ice. Shesterkin became the third goaltender in franchise history to win multiple career Game 7s, joining Henrik Lundqvist (6-2) and Mike Richter (2-0).

Defenseman Adam Fox, center Ryan Strome, center Filip Chytil and forward Andrew Copp added goals on Monday. Monday’s Game 7 ended a 13-game playoff streak for the Hurricanes in which the home team won every game, and it also marked the first time an opponent scored more than two goals in a game at PNC Arena.

Fox recorded his ninth and 10th point in games when facing elimination (2-8—10) to establish an NHL record for most by a defenseman in a single postseason, surpassing Ray Bourque in 1980 (2-6—8 in 4 GP).

Game Trends

  • Lightning are 6-0 in their last 6 vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Lightning are 45-14 in their last 59 Wednesday games.
  • Lightning are 22-8 in their last 30 playoff games as a favorite.
  • Rangers are 43-20 in their last 63 vs. Eastern Conference.
  • Rangers are 42-20 in their last 62 home games.
  • Rangers are 15-38 in their last 53 playoff games as an underdog.
  • Underdog is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.

Expert Prediction

  • Lightning 3, Rangers 1


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