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Free Series Picks: Tampa Bay vs. N.Y. NHL Playoffs Gambling Lines

Lightning vs Rangers Playoff Pick

The New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning are ready to throw down for the right to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup.

NHL Playoffs Betting

Tampa Bay vs New York
Today’s NHL Lines
Today’s NHL Matchups
NHL Standings
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Game Schedule

Saturday, May 16 1 p.m. Tampa Bay at NY Rangers
Monday, May 18 8 p.m. Tampa Bay at NY Rangers
Wednesday, May 20 8 p.m. NY Rangers at Tampa Bay
Friday, May 22 8 p.m. NY Rangers at Tampa Bay
*Sunday, May 24 8 p.m. Tampa Bay at NY Rangers
*Tuesday, May 26 8 p.m. NY Rangers at Tampa Bay
*Friday, May 29 8 p.m. Tampa Bay at NY Rangers

Lightning vs. Rangers Odds To Win 7 Game Series:

Lightning Series Prices +108
Rangers Series Prices -128

The reigning President’s Trophy winning Rangers arrive on the heels of a sensational seven-game series win against Washington while the Lightning looked awfully good in dispatching the Montreal Canadiens in six games.

So will it be the underdog that continues their magical run or is it the favorite that wins this series? Recent history won’t give us much of a glimpse into this matchup – the teams haven’t faced each other since December 1. But Tampa Bay won all three season matchups by a combined 15-8.

Let’s take a look.

Offense

Tampa Bay’s line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat has combined for 17 goals and 14 assists so far in the playoffs – they have been remarkable and are hotter than any line that the Rangers will trot out there. Johnson’s eight goals lead the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and Kucherov scored six goals against the Canadiens.

Tampa has the most talented forward in the series as well – although Steven Stamkos has been disappointing there is no doubt about his overall talent. He seems to be ramping up ahead of this series as well – he has a point in the past five games, and three goals and seven assists in 13 playoff games. Linemates Valtteri Filppula and Alex Killorn have quietly been OK in the playoffs as well.

The problem for Tampa is the lack of scoring depth – if the top two lines are somehow shut down, the team is in some serious trouble. The availability of Ryan Callahan is also a huge factor – who knows if he will be 100% after his appendectomy.

The Rangers offensive corp. is buoyed by depth and playoff experience – two factors that could be the difference in what is sure to be a tight series. Mats Zuccarello’s injury and the virtual silence of Rick Nash hasn’t been as much of a factor as many would have thought – youngsters Derick Brassard, Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider have picked up the slack and have been dangerous every time they are on the ice. Kreider has a team-high five goals so far in the postseason along with Derek Brassard but Kreider struggled against Tampa Bay this past season as did Brassard.

There doesn’t seem to be an offensive edge in the series although Tampa’s line of Johnson, Kucherov and Palat are the hottest of any in the series. You have to think that Nash’s struggles won’t continue, that Martin St. Louis will step up against his former club and that the depth of the Rangers matches up well with Tampa Bay.

Defense

The defense is where the New York Rangers have a distinct advantage in the series. Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Dan Boyle, Keith Yandle and Kevin Klein make up arguably the best top six corp. in the NHL today – they slowed down a scorching Alex Ovechkin last round and on paper still look like the most formidable bunch left in the playoffs.

Tampa’s defense has overachieved so far in the playoffs. Anton Stralman and Victor Hedman have been terrific in both ends of the rink so far in the playoffs, Braydon Coburn and Jason Garrison have been physical and effective in their own zone and Andrej Sustr and Matthew Carle have made up a very serviceable third pair.

Tampa may not have the names on defense that New York does but this unit has been more-than-adequate so far. That said the talent and experience edge goes to a New York team that has been built for the playoffs.

Goaltending

That leaves perhaps the best positional battle of the series to talk about – Henrik Lundqvist vs. Ben Bishop. Both keepers has been tremendous so far

Lundqvist has finished with a save percentage of .930 or higher in 11 of his 12 playoff games thus far and is 8-4 so far this postseason with an out-of-this-world 1.60 GAA and .944 save percentage. Lundqvist enters off a 42 save effort in Game 7 of the East semi-final – proof that he is peaking at just the right time. Don’t worry about the fact the King Henrik was 0-3 with a 4.74 GAA and .823 save percentage against Tampa Bay in the regular season – Henrik has taken his game to a different level as we head into Saturday’s Game 1.

Ben Bishop has also been terrific during the postseason – he has posted a 1.81 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in 13 postseason games including a 31-save shutout against the Red Wings in Game 7 of the first round.

The edge here goes to the more experienced Henrik Lundqvist who looks like a man on a mission right now. Ben Bishop has been good but he certainly hasn’t faced the level of offensive firepower that Lundqvist has.

The King is relatively fresh, he is motivated and he is absolutely on top of his game. To say that about the best keeper in the work is saying something about his team’s chances to win it all.

4* FREE NHL Series Prediction:

The New York Rangers have been waiting a full season to get back to this point – expect them to bring their best. But in their way is a team brimming with confidence and that has fared very well against them already this season.

Throw all the stats out the window and go with the better goaltender here. That distinction belongs to the New York Rangers. I just can’t get past the experience edge and depth advantage that the Broadway Blueshirts own. And oh ya – Lundqvist has now won six straight Game 7s and has only allowed five total goals in those games.

In yet another Game 7 thriller, expect King Henrik to shine once again and for New York to advance to their second straight Final.

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About DaveB

Dave B has been a Fantasy Football writer for us for 10 years. A couch potato wannabe, Dave’s insights have been read by 10’s of people for years. He hope’s for world peace + global relaxation. Enjoy and remember only smoke things that are completely natural.


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