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NHL Free Pick: Lightning vs. Rangers Betting Lines & Preview

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Weekend NHL Betting action sees the Tampa Bay Lightning taking on the New York Rangers May 16 at Madison Square Garden. Cappers Picks provides free NHL handicapping tips all season long.

The Eastern Conference Final kicks off on Saturday afternoon in New York when the Rangers, fresh off a thrilling OT Game 7 win against Washington play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning who looked very good in taking care of the Montreal Canadiens in Round 2.

Daily NHL Hockey Odds

Game 1
Tampa Bay (58-29-3-5) vs New York (61-26-2-5)
When: 1:00 PM ET, Saturday, May 16, 2015
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
Broadcast: NBC, CBC, TVA
Lightning NHL Betting Odds:   +1½ -260     +120
Rangers NHL Betting Odds:   -1½ +220     -133
NHL Over Under Betting Odds:  Un 5 -126, Ov 5 +114
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The Rangers enter Game 1 on a three game win streak while the Lightning have lost two of their last three games. Tampa Bay however won all three games against New York in the regular season by a combined 15-7, including two wins by at least three goals at Madison Square Garden.

The Tampa Bay Lightning have to be a confident group heading into Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final – not only have they played the Rangers tough in the recent past but their level of play has hit a new level. The offense has found another gear and the defense is overachieving just a bit.

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 – incredible and Steven Stamkos has shed his early playoff slump.

Stamkos has three goals during a five game point streak and he and his linemates have given the Lightning two quality lines to head into Broadway with.

The Lightning will have their hands full trying to score against Henrik Lundqvist and unfortunately for them, outside of the top two lines, there isn’t much offensive depth.

Saturday’s game will likely come down to Ben Bishop. Bishop has been terrific during the postseason – 1.81 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in 13 games. He faces a tougher test against a slightly better offensive New York team but it is a good bet that he will do his job in Game 1.

After all Bishop is 8-0-0 with a 1.48 GAA and .946 save percentage in his career against the Rangers.

The New York Rangers will head into Game 1 on a serious high. Off a thrilling win in Game 7 against Washington the Rangers will certainly carry some momentum into the East Final – on home ice Saturday.

Depth has been a theme for New York all season long and that depth has been front and center so far in the playoffs. Youngsters Derick Brassard, Kevin Hayes and Chris Kreider have been terrific and have lessened the blow of having Rick Nash struggle so far. But names like Nash and Martin St. Louis will be motivated for sure as we head into Game 1.

The Rangers own perhaps the best defensive units in the game – expect them to put the clamps down on the dangerous Lightning – it all starts in Game 1.

And then there is Henrik Lundqvist who could be the best player in the series. 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.

King Henrik was 0-3 with a 4.74 GAA and .823 save percentage against Tampa Bay in the regular season but we can comfortably throw those stats out the window right now.

NHL Gambling Trends

• Under is 9-3-1 in TB last 13 road games.
• Under is 6-2-1 in TB last 9 games following a win.
• TB are 6-2 in their last 8 overall.
• Under is 8-1-1 in NYR last 10 overall.
• Over is 6-1-4 in NYR last 11 Sat. games.
• NYR are 12-4 in their last 16 Sat. games.

The Rangers are 5-2 at home in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs; the Lightning are 2-4 on the road. For me, Game 1 comes down to experience and the Rangers have a boat load of that.

NHL Betting 4* Free Play

Expect New York to ride the momentum of a three game win streak and an emotional Game 7 win Wednesday night to a win in the series opener.

New York Rangers -128

Tampa hasn’t faced a team like the Rangers yet in the playoffs – Game 1 will be a huge learning experience for the younger squad.

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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.