Last Updated Jun 02, 2022, 2:01 AM

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Rangers Picks, Predictions, Odds

The Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers meet at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, a best-of-seven series. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET, and the game can be viewed on ESPN/ESPN+.

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Score Prediction

Lightning 3, Rangers 2

Best Bet

Lightning -130
Under 5.5 (-114)
Under 1.5 - 1st Period (-115)

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TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING vs. NEW YORK RANGERS PREDICTIONS

The Lightning dispatched the Florida Panthers in a four-game sweep in the second round, winning by a combined score of 13-3. Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed just one goal in each of the first three games, and capped off the sweep with a 49-save shutout. He ended up going 4-0 with a 0.75 GAA and .981 SV% in the four-game series. Yeah, he is locked in and ready for a three-peat run, that's for sure.

Tampa Bay is the two-time defending champs, and while New York technically has home-ice advantage in this series, the Lightning is a favorite in the opening series odds at all shops. In fact, they're rather decisive favorites, costing nearly two times your potential return. That's because of the playoff experience factor.

Playoff experience, or a perceived lack thereof, wasn't a big deal for the Rangers. They went down 3-1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round before winning three consecutive elimination games. They went down 2-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round, and 3-2 after five games, before winning two straight elimination games. They might have the new Mr. Game 7 in Chris Kreider, too. He scored two games in the elimination game in Raleigh on Monday, giving him 15 goals in an elimination game, second-most in NHL history.

These teams last met on March 19 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, and it could be a preview of what to expect in this series. New York posted a 2-1 victory, as Igor Shesterkin outdueled Vasilevskiy in a low-scoring game. On Jan. 2, the Rangers won on home ice by a 4-0 count, as Shesterkin shut the door in a 38-save shutout, while Mika Zibanejad had two power-play goals en route to a hat trick. New York also won 4-3 in a shootout on New Year's Eve, but that was with backup Brian Elliott in between the crease.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING vs. NEW YORK RANGERS BETTING ODDS

Lightning -130
Rangers +108
Lightning -1.5 (+195)
Rangers +1.5 (-244)
Over 5.5 (-108)
Under 5.5 (-114)

More Odds Futures Odds

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING vs. NEW YORK RANGERS BETTING RESOURCES

  • Date: Wednesday, June 1, 2022
  • Matchup: Atlantic vs. Metropolitan
  • Venue: Madison Square Garden
  • Location: New York, N.Y.
  • TV-Time: ESPN/ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING BETTING ANALYSIS

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 59-26-8
  • ATS: 46-47
  • O/U: 49-42-2

The Lightning have rattled off six consecutive victories since last losing on May 10 in Game 5 at Toronto in the first round. A 4-3 overtime win in Game 6 in Tampa kept its season alive, and like New York, the Lightning are pretty special in elimination games, too. The two-time defending champs are 2-0 when facing elimination in this postseason.

Tampa Bay has won six consecutive games, while going 4-1 in the past five games on the road. The Lightning are also 22-8 in the past 30 playoff games when favored.

And, if you were worried about rust, Tampa Bay has rattled off 42 victories in the past 62 games when resting for three or more days, so this team knows how to do a little maintenance and still be game-ready for when the time comes.

As far as totals, the UNDER has cashed in five straight games overall, while going 6-2-3 in the past 11 in the Conference Finals round. The UNDER is also 13-6 in the past 19 on the road, while going 7-3 in the past 10 as a road favorite.

NEW YORK RANGERS BETTING ANALYSIS

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 60-28-8
  • ATS: 50-46
  • O/U: 41-52-3

Shesterkin might have been just 4-3 in the second round, but he posted an impressive 1.53 GAA and .946 SV% in the seven-round set against the Hurricanes. The goaltender wasn't the only reason that the Rangers won, as the penalty kill was on point, and the power play did a good job when called upon, especially in key situations. But when the Rangers did have a breakdown, Shesterkin was the last line of defense, and he wasn't letting anything get by him that wasn't well earned.

New York has won four of the past five games since going down 0-2 to the Canes, and it is 42-20 in the past 62 games at MSG. In addition, the Rangers are 6-2 in the past eight games as a home underdog. However, in the past seven as a 'dog, they're just 1-6.

The Rangers did sweep the three-game regular-season series against the Lightning, and New York has won four of the past five games overall, so head coach Gerard Gallant's team knows it can hang with the two-time defending champs. But, to be the champ, you have to beat the champ, and we'll see if things are different in a playoff series. It usually is.

On totals, the UNDER is 5-2 in the past seven for the Rangers, but the OVER is 5-2 in the past seven at home, and 4-0 in the past four as a home 'dog. The UNDER is 7-2-1 in the past 10 playoff games as a 'dog, however.

The Rangers won all three regular-season meetings vs. the Lightning. (Getty Images)

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING vs. NEW YORK RANGERS CONCLUSION

I wouldn't get too carried away with betting the total in Game 1. The obvious lean, especially with a 5.5 or flat 6, is to the UNDER. Both Shesterkin and Vasilevskiy are playing out of their minds right now and can carry their teams not only to victory single-handedly, but they can shut it down and shut out the other team on a rather regular basis. I expect to see some low scores in most of the battles, and it's likely going to come down to penalties and power-play goals. New York showed out in those categories in the second round. Again, the Conference Finals are a different animal, and the pressure continues to ratchet up.

You have to like the experience of the two-time champs, though. Vasilevskiy is well rested, and hardly dinged. He gave up NOTHING against the Florida Panthers, which was the highest-scoring team in the regular season. Will the lack of playing time lately throw him off rhythm, or will rest make him even stronger in the early going?

I expect we'll get a scoreless first period, as these teams feel each other out. Playing the first-round UNDER 1.5 (-115) is a good move here, too. And hang with the champs on the overall money line, with a slight lean to the UNDER for the overall result, too.

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING vs. NEW YORK RANGERS BETTING TRENDS

  • Lightning are 6-0 in the past six games overall.
  • Lightning are 4-1 in the past six road games.
  • Lightning are 49-21 in the past 70 as a favorite.
  • Lightning are 22-8 in the past 30 playoff games as a fave.
  • Lightning are 42-20 in the past 62 on three or more days of rest.
  • Rangers are 4-1 in the past five games overall.
  • Rangers are 42-20 in the past 62 home games.
  • Rangers are 1-6 in the past seven as an underdog.
  • Rangers are 6-2 in the past eight as a home 'dog.
  • UNDER is 5-0 in the past five for the Lightning.
  • UNDER is 13-6 in the past 19 road games for the Lightning.
  • UNDER is 6-2-3 in the past 11 Conference Finals games for the Lightning.
  • UNDER is 5-2 in the past seven for the Rangers.
  • OVER is 5-2 in the past seven home games for the Rangers.
  • UNDER is 7-2-1 in the past 10 playoff games as a 'dog for the Rangers.
  • OVER is 4-0 in the past four as a home 'dog for the Rangers.
  • Lightning are 1-4 in the past five meetings.
  • Underdog is 4-1 in the past five meetings.
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