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NHL Playoff Betting – Lightning Look to Shock Rangers in Game 7

Eric Thompson

by Eric Thompson in News

Updated Jan 17, 2018 · 9:39 AM PST

Steven Stamkos with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Steven Stamkos leads the Presidents Trophy-winning Lightning with 41 goals. Photo by Michael Miller (Wikimedia Commons) [CC License].

Tampa Bay Lightning (+130) at New York Rangers (-150, o/u 5)

The Eastern Conference Finals hasn’t been the usual low scoring, tight checking affair Rangers fans are used to seeing these playoffs, but it will come to a nail biting conclusion all the same when the Tampa Bay Lightning visit Madison Square Garden tomorrow night (8:00 PM Eastern).

The Rangers staved off elimination in a big way last time out, blowing out the Lightning 7-3 in Game 6, led by Derick Brassard (hat-trick, 5 points), J.T. Miller (4 points), and Rick Nash (4 points). The signs of life from Nash are particularly encouraging for the Blueshirts: the team’s leading scorer in the regular season has had a down playoffs; but a three-point effort in Game 4 coupled with his Game 6 outburst has seen his playoff point total double.

For a team that had a near-addiction to winning 2-1 games, the Lightning’s up tempo style has forced New York to play a more open game, which they are happily embracing. The Rangers are outscoring Tampa 21-19 this series, which shouldn’t be that big of a shock; they finished the year third in goals for, only ten back of the Lightning.

As the series shifts back to the Big Apple for a final time, Tampa Bay will be disappointed they didn’t seal the deal at home. But the squad still has reason for confidence: they’ve won two of three games on the road this round. New York has also not won back-to-back games against them this year.

Both teams have already played a loser-goes-home game these playoffs: Tampa defeated the Red Wings 2-0 in the first round, while New York edged out Washington 2-1 (OT) in the second. Ben Bishop was outstanding in his first Game 7, stopping all 31 shots he faced, but he’ll have to out-duel Henrik Lundqvist on Friday, the undisputed king of Game 7s. (Lundqvist has won six-straight, posting a ridiculous 0.84 goals against average and .973 save percentage.)

Impressive as Lundqvist’s stats are, Tampa head coach Jon Cooper is right that the Rangers have never faced an offence like his.

“I guess you look back and it’s an impressive feat to see what they’ve done,” Cooper told the Canadian Press. “But they haven’t done it against our group and our team, and we’ve got a pretty young, confident group.”

Cooper’s young group features the top-two scorers in the playoffs – Tyler Johnson (20) and Nikita Kucherov (19) – and also boasts super-sniper Steven Stamkos (17).

While the trends suggest the Rangers will continue their run of winning Game 7s, the fact is all streaks have to end eventually. No team has been able to shell Henrik Lundqvist like this Tampa group, having scored 33 goals against him this season. With good value as a road underdog, take the Lightning for the upset.

Pick: Lightning (+130).

(Photo Credit: Michael Miller (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)

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