Bet on Lightning vs. Rangers Game 1 With Borgata Code VICOMBONUS for $100 in free bets when you bet $20

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The Eastern Conference Finals will begin on Wednesday night for Game 1 when the visiting back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning clash with the New York Rangers. Coverage on ESPN will begin at 8 p.m. ET from Madison Square Garden. 

Updated on 06/25/2024
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The Lightning have been waiting to play since May 23 after sweeping the Presidents’ Trophy winning Florida Panthers in the second round. The Rangers rallied from a 3-2 series deficit to defeat the Carolina Hurricanes in seven games in their second round matchup. 

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The Lightning are attempting to become the first NHL team to three-peat as Stanley Cup champions since the New York Islanders captured four titles in a row from 1980-83. Meanwhile, the Rangers are seeking their first Stanley Cup title since the 1993-94 season. 

This Eastern Conference Finals will be a matchup of outstanding Russian goalies. 

Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is a previous winner of the Vezina Trophy. Vasilevskiy has yet to allow more than three goals in any game this postseason and never allowed more than a goal in any contest in the second round. Vasilevskiy leads all goalies in victories over the last five seasons (188) and recorded a 2.49 GAA and .916 save percentage along with a 39-18-5 record this season. Vasilevskiy has an 8-3 record this postseason and his 57 career playoff wins has him tied with Tuuka Rask for 17th in league history, according to the Associated Press. 

Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin is a finalist this season for the Vezina Trophy. Shesterkin led the NHL in GAA (2.07) and save percentage (.935) while also posting a 36-13-4 record during his third season in the league. In his last 10 postseason contests, Shesterkin is 7-3 with a 2.09 GAA. This comes after Shesterkin allowed six total goals in Games 3 and 4 in the first round vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Both the Lightning and the Rangers narrowly escaped in seven games in the first round. The Lightning edged the Toronto Maple Leafs to open up the postseason. 

During the regular season, the Rangers took all three matchups, with the most recent contest over two months ago. 

The Lightning are favored by 1.5 goals vs. the Rangers in Game 1. Overall, the Lightning are 22-8 in their last 30 postseason games as the favorite. The underdog is 4-1 in the past five meetings between the teams. The Rangers are 1-6 in their last seven games as an underdog. 

The over/under is set for 5.5 goals for Game 1. The UNDER has happened in the last five contests and in 13 of the last 19 road games for the Lightning. The score has also gone UNDER with a 6-2-3 record in the last 11 Conference Finals games for the Lightning. Meanwhile, the UNDER has been the result in five of the last seven contests for the Rangers. The score has gone OVER in five of the last seven home games for the Rangers. Count on the UNDER holding serve as each offense gets acclimated. 

In front of what promises to be a raucous crowd, the Rangers will cover the spread but the veteran Lightning will strike first with a Game 1 road victory. 

Written by Rolando Rosa, our US sports betting industry expert.