Lightning: A Win Away From Another Stanley Cup Finals Appearance
The Tampa Bay Lightning have the lead for the first time in the Eastern Conference Finals. Now, a win in Game 6 on home ice, and Tampa Bay will be playing in the Stanley Cup Finals for the third season in a row. The Rangers vs Lightning betting preview shows host Tampa Bay as the favorite to close it out in Game 6.
New York had won eight consecutive games at home since a triple-overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. All the Rangers had to do was to continue to win at Madison Square Garden and they would be headed to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 2014.
It was Tampa Bay scoring twice in the final two minutes to take a 3-2 lead in the series it once trailed 0-2.
The Rangers have won a pair of Game 7s to get this far even though seven teams in the Eastern Conference had better odds to win the Eastern Conference title than the Rangers coming into the season. It will take a win in Tampa Bay in Game 6 for the series to go the distance. That would make for one unforgettable environment at Madison Square Garden for Game 7. Getting to that game will be no easy task.
The NHL Stanley Cup betting odds price list the Lightning at -500 to seal the deal this season. When it comes to the Stanley Cup Final, Tampa Bay (+200) is still trailing what will be a rested Colorado Avalanche team.
Rangers vs Lightning Game Information
- Game: Rangers (52-24-6 in the regular season) Lightning (51-23-8)
- Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa
- Day/Time: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET
- Television: ESPN
Squandered Opportunities Catching up to Rangers
When looking at the Rangers vs Lightning betting preview, there is a thin line between success and failure in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. That was never more evident than late in the third period in Game 5.
Rangers center Ryan Strome had already missed a game earlier in the series due to injury. He did return to the ice and had a chance to put the Rangers in front.
Strome had a wide-open net to shoot at late in the third period of a tie game and failed to come through with what likely would have been the biggest goal of his NHL career.
Not long after Strome squandered a glorious opportunity to give his team the lead, the Lightning had no such issues as Ondrej Palat’s goal with less than two minutes left lifted Tampa Bay to a 3-1 victory.
Strome has plenty of company when it comes to New York players failing to score. The Rangers have two even-strength goals in the last 200 minutes. One of them came from defenseman Ryan Lindgren midway through the second period of Game 5 to open the scoring.
Sergachev Delivers the Goods for Lightning
Adam Fox of the New York Rangers and Victor Hedman of the Tampa Bay Lightning are the defensemen with a track record of offensive brilliance in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Remember, with the series tied 2-2 heading into Game 5, it was Mikhail Sergachev who came up with two huge plays that changed the Rangers vs Lightning betting preview.
Sergachev had no goals and seven assists in his last 38 playoff games before he scored his first goal of this year’s Stanley Cup playoffs late in the second period. To boot, it looked like he would be credited with the go-ahead goal as well… as his shot from just inside the blue line eluded a screened Shesterkin. After a review, it was determined that Palat got credit for his franchise-record 11th game-winning goal in the playoffs.
With a goal and an assist, it was Sergachev’s first multi-point game in the postseason since he had two assists in Game 4 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals.
Hedman, a former Conn Smythe Award winner, was the only Tampa Bay defenseman to see more ice time than Sergachev in the pivotal Game 5. Sergachev had three shots on goal and a blocked shot in the 3-1 victory.
Rangers vs Lightning Betting Analysis
Injury questions were handled on one side when Strome and Filip Chytil were both able to play for the Rangers in Game 5. There was some chatter that Brayden Point would make his series debut for Tampa Bay, however, his lower-body injury which has sidelined him since Game 7 of the series against the Toronto Maple Leafs kept him out of the lineup once again. The feeling is that he could return if Tampa Bay advances to the Stanley Cup Final. It will be worth keeping an eye on Point’s status for the rest of this series. Point was Tampa Bay’s leading goal scorer during the run to the 2020 and 2021 Stanley Cup championships.
New York won all three games during the regular season and the first two games in the series. The Rangers had a chance to make it 6 for 6 when it took a 2-0 lead in Game 3 of the series. Since then, Tampa Bay has had 13 of the 17 goals in the series. Now it is Tampa Bay favored in the Rangers vs Lightning betting preview.
Three of the last four times the Rangers played in Tampa, the result was a one-goal affair. The Rangers are 6-4 in the last 10 one-goal games against the Lightning.
Six of the last seven games between the teams had five goals or less scored.
Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin, and Adam Fox are tied for the team lead with five points in the series while Shesterkin has a 2.44 goals-against average and a save percentage of .933.
Palat leads Tampa Bay with four goals in the series, Nikita Kucherov has a team-leading seven points (three goals, four assists) and has a 2.62 GAA against the Rangers. That number has dropped to 1.33 over the last three games.
Tampa Bay is 10-5 when it can close out a series since the start of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. The Lightning is 3-0 when facing elimination during that time.
The Lightning (-180) is favored to end things in Game 6 on Saturday.Follow us on Twitter