Rangers Hopes Return Home Changes Fortunes
Not too long ago, there was a thought that Game 5 in the Eastern Conference Final could be a chance for the New York Rangers to eliminate the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in front of their home fans in New York. Now, the Rangers need to win at home to keep Tampa Bay from surging in front in the series.
The Rangers are 8-1 at home in the playoffs and have outscored their opponents 4.2-2.2 in those games. Tampa Bay is 4-4 on the road in the postseason. The Lightning have been outshot and outscored in road games during the playoffs.
According to the NHL betting lines, the Lightning’s odds to win the Stanley Cup shifted from +650 after falling down 0-2 in the series to +325. The championship odds for the Rangers have risen to +650. The series price was -140 in favor of the Rangers before Game 4 and it is now -170 for the Lightning.
Resiliency of Lightning Continues To Amaze
Trailing the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 in the first series of the playoffs and then dropping the first two games to the New York Rangers had some people ready to declare Tampa Bay’s title run over.
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.
Tampa Bay returned home and won twice at Amalie Arena to even the Eastern Conference Final. The odds are now in favor of Tampa Bay reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the third season in a row.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) June 8, 2022
It should surprise pretty much nobody that the goal scorers for Tampa Bay in the last two games are proven playoff performers Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Ondrej Palat and Pat Maroon. Kucherov, Stamkos and Palat had goals in both Game 3 and 4. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy has had an up and down postseason but he has stopped 62 of 65 shots in the last two contests.
The same Ranger fans who were chanting “Igor is better” to try to rattle Vasilevskiy are likely just a tad bit anxious these days as the series returns to New York for a pivotal Game 5.
Something to consider for those who bet online, the total has gone under in eight of Tampa Bay’s last nine games.
The New York Rangers played without veteran center Ryan Strome in Game 4 and it is uncertain if he will be able to go for Game 5. There was more concerning injury news when an upper-body injury knocked Filip Chytil out of the last game. He is also considered questionable.
Chytil has been a key piece of the “Kid Line” made up of recent first-round picks with Chytil, Alexis Lafreniere 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. The Rangers have been fortunate in the injury department during this postseason run. Eight of the top nine forwards in terms of time on ice played in each of the first 17 games. This is not the time to be shorthanded.
NHL Vegas odds total has gone under in eight of the last 11 games for the Rangers.
Lightning vs Rangers Head-to-Head
After losing the first five matchups of the season to the Rangers, the Lightning have 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.
The Rangers are 6-4 in the last nine one-goal games against Tampa Bay. Mika Zibanejad has seven goals in seven games against Tampa Bay this season while Adam Fox has eight assists. 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.
Lightning vs Rangers Game Information
- Game: Lightning (51-23-8 in the regular season) vs Rangers (52-24-6).
- Location: Madison Square Garden, New York
- Day/Time: Thursday June 9, 8 p.m. ET
- Lightning vs Rangers Live Stream: NHL.TV
Lightning vs Rangers Betting Lines
Lightning vs Rangers Prediction
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 Final 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 Strome and Chytil should be monitored. The Lightning have 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.
Tampa Bay being favored at Madison Square Garden speaks volumes about how the momentum in this series has shifted.