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Sports Betting Expert
The Eastern Conference Finals will pick back up on Saturday night for Game 6 when the visiting New York Rangers clash with the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. Coverage on ESPN will begin at 8 p.m. ET from Amalie Arena.
After going down 0-2, the Lightning have striked with three consecutive victories to be within one win of a third straight trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Lightning edged the host Rangers 3-1 in Game 5. With the game tied with 1:50 to go, Ondrej Palat scored a goal off a deflection from a shot by Mikhail Sergachev.
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Brandon Hagel converted an empty-netter with 59 seconds left to clinch the victory for the Lightning.
Game 5 was the first contest of the series that the road team won. The loss snapped an eight-game home winning streak for the Rangers, who haven’t won a Stanley Cup title since 1993-94.
Rangers defenseman Ryan Lindgren scored the first goal of the game with 9:31 remaining in the second period. Sergachev then tied the game on a shot from center point through traffic with 2:26 left in the second frame.
Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin each tallied 24 saves in the defensive battle. Vasilevskiy was relentless during an action-packed 32-second sequence in the third period, as he stopped shots by Ryan Strome, Adam Fox, and Lindgren. Vasilevskiy also made a key save on a shot from Kevin Rooney with nearly eight minutes left.
Shesterkin made many impressive saves during a power play in the second period, most notably on a slap shot from Nikita Kucherov 4:14 into the frame.
The Rangers have now trailed 3-2 in every series of these playoffs. They overcame a 3-1 deficit in the first round vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins and then came back from 3-2 against the Carolina Hurricanes in the second round.
The Lightning are favored by 1.5 goals over the Rangers in the potential series-clinching contest. This comes after the Lightning were favored by the same amount prior to the Game 5 victory.
The Lightning are 9-2 in their last 11 overall games and 52-23 in their last 75 contests as the favorite.
The Rangers are 4-3 in the last seven games overall and 2-9 in their last 11 contests as an underdog. The underdog is 5-3 overall in the last eight meetings between the Rangers and Lightning.
The over/under is set for 5.5 goals in Game 6. This was the same over/under amount for Game 5, with the UNDER occurring. The UNDER is 11-3-1 in the last 15 playoff contests when the Rangers are underdogs. The UNDER is 9-1 in the last ten contests overall for the Lightning.
The UNDER is also 6-1-1 in the last eight Conference Finals games for the Lightning. In the last 18 games as the favorite, the OVER is 11-7 for the Lightning. Expect the UNDER to take place again with a heated and hard fought battle to occur between the two teams.
The Lightning will cover the spread and defeat the Rangers to earn the Eastern Conference championship and take on the Colorado Avalanche in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Written by Rolando Rosa, our US sports betting industry expert.