Lightning vs Rangers Game 5 Preview: Visiting Tampa Bay Favored to Win at MSG

Resilient Lightning Looking for Lead in Eastern Conference Finals

Rangers are Hoping the Postseason Run at MSG Continues

Some of the New York Rangers fans were likely already trying to figure out when the championship parade was going to be after outscoring the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning 9-4 to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Final. There were chants of “Igor is better” whenever Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy watched the puck go into his net. That seems like ages ago as we prepare for Lightning vs Rangers Game 5.

As the Toronto Maple Leafs discovered in the first round of the playoffs, it is dangerous to celebrate against the Lightning in a postseason until it is time for the teams to exchange handshakes when the series is over.

Tampa Bay returned home and won twice and now is favored to win at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night in a pivotal Game 5.

The Ranger’s scores are 8-1 at home in the playoffs and have outscored their opponents 38-20 in those games. Tampa Bay is 4-4 on the road in the postseason. The Lightning has been outshot and outscored in road games during the 2022 NHL playoffs.

The Lightning’s odds to win the Stanley Cup championship stood at +650 after dropping the first two games. It is now at +325. The championship odds for the Rangers have tumbled to +650. The series price was -140 in favor of the Rangers before Game 4 and it is now -170 for the Lightning.

The New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning each had 110 points in the standings during the regular season, so seeing the teams engaged in a long series is not a stunning turn of events.

Nobody will need to look at the betting odds to know that Madison Square Garden will be rocking on Thursday night with a rare, and recent June home game of importance in the World’s Most Famous Arena.

Lightning vs Rangers Game 5 Information

  • Game: Lightning (51-23-8 in the regular season) Rangers (52-24-6).
  • Location: Madison Square Garden, New York
  • Day/Time: Thursday, 8:00 p.m. ET
  • Television: ESPN

Familiar faces Deliver to Keep Lightning’s 3-Peat Quest Alive

The roster of forwards has changed a little bit due to the expansion draft and the salary cap; however, with the Tampa Bay Lightning on the verge of falling down to the Rangers by three games in the Eastern Conference Finals, the stars of previous championship runs rose to the occasion.

The trio of Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Ondřej Palát have combined to score six of the last seven goals with fellow multiple-time Stanley Cup winner Patrick Maroon accounting for the other goal. Suddenly the series is tied at 2 and when looking at Game 5 in the Lightning vs Rangers series, it is visiting Tampa Bay that is favored.

Teams don’t win back-to-back Stanley Cup championships on talent alone. There is a winning culture in place in Tampa Bay and that has been proven yet again. It started with Tampa Bay winning the final two games of the first-round series against Toronto including Game 7 on the road.

Vasilevskiy has had an up and down postseason, but he has stopped 62 of 65 shots in the last two contests.

Injuries Mounting Up Front for Rangers

There is never a good time to be missing key forwards; however, facing the reigning NHL champions who are bursting with confidence after winning the last two games is certainly the time when a team would like to have all hands on deck.

Ryan Strome missed Game 4 for the Rangers and then Filip Chytil left the game with an upper-body injury. Both are considered questionable for the game. If Strome and Chytil miss the game, it shouldn’t hurt too much in the faceoff department as both have struggled in that area during the postseason. However, Chytil is third on the Rangers with seven goals in the playoffs. Strome’s seven assists are tied for the fourth-most by forwards in the postseason.

If they can’t go, it would put even more pressure on the trio of Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin, and Mika Zibanejad.

Chytil has been a key piece of the “Kid Line” made up of recent first-round picks with Chytil joining Alexis Lafrenière and Kaapo Kakko. They formed arguably New York’s most effective line at even strength in the series. Chytil is one of four Rangers with at least two goals in the series.

Lightning vs Rangers Betting Analysis

The visiting team being favored in Game 5 of the Lightning vs Rangers series speaks volumes about how the tide has turned since the teams last met at Madison Square Garden.

Since the Rangers led Tampa Bay 2-0 during the first period of Game 3 in the series, New York has been outscored 10-3. They have one, even-strength goal in the last eight periods. That is something that will need to change if the Rangers want to reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 2014.

The Rangers have squandered early leads in two of the last three games. Tampa Bay has outscored New York 5-2 in the third period of the last two games.

There have been a total of 25 power-play opportunities in the four games with the Rangers scoring four times and the Lightning three, so that could be a factor in Game 5.

The status of Rangers forwards Ryan Strome and Filip Chytil should be monitored. The Lightning has yet to have the services of center Brayden Point in the series. He was the team’s top goal-scorer in each of the last two championship runs. Corey Perry is also questionable for the Lightning.

After losing the first five matchups of the season to the Rangers, the Lightning has won the last two. They have scored seven of the last eight goals in the series. The Rangers outscored the Lightning 19-8 in those first five games.

There will be plenty of eyes on the two goalies. Igor Shesterkin has a 1.99 goals-against average and a save percentage of .944 when facing Tampa Bay this year. Those numbers have dropped a 3.10 GAA and a .927 save percentage in the last two games.

The Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy is 2-4 with a 3.03 GAA against the Rangers with a save percentage of .897. In the last two games, he has a 1.50 GAA and a save percentage of .954.

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