- The Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers open their series on Wednesday, June 1st
- The Lightning will be playing their first game in 9 days after sweeping the Panthers
- Read below for the Lightning vs Rangers Game 1 odds, picks, and prediction
Well rested and ready to go, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning visit Manhattan for Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers on Wednesday, June 1st. It’s a prime time matchup on ESPN with the faceoff scheduled for 8:00 pm ET at Madison Square Garden.
No days off for the Rangers as they’re back in action just two days after eliminating the Carolina Hurricanes with a 6-2 victory in Game 7 of the 2nd round.
Goaltending was the key to both of these squad’s 2nd round victories and should play a big part in this series as well. With experience and championship pedigree on their side, the Lightning are -129 road favorites in Game 1. Let’s check out the Lightning vs Rangers odds and give you our NHL best bet for Game 1.
Lightning vs Rangers Odds
|Tampa Bay Lightning||-1.5 (+195)||O 5.5 (-106)||-129|
|New York Rangers||+1.5 (-245)||U 5.5 (-114)||+108|
Odds as of May 31st at Barstool Sportsbook.
The Conn Smythe nominee for both these teams at this point has to be the goalies. Goals were paramount for both sides in the 2nd round as every game was low scoring. In fact, Tampa went under the total four out of four times against the Panthers, while the Rangers hit the under five out of seven times against the Panthers.
Igor Shesterkin vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The Eastern Conference will be a goaltending duel for the ages.
— The Athletic NHL (@TheAthleticNHL) May 31, 2022
The over/under total for Game 1 of this Eastern Conference Final is set at 5.5 goals with the under juiced more heavily at -114. Those odds give an implied probability of 53.27% that the teams will go under the total in Game 1.
Will Lightning Benefit From Over a Week of Rest?
How much rest is too much rest in the postseason? It’s a question that always comes up at the outset of a series, especially when the teams facing each other are on such opposite sides of the spectrum as is the case in this matchup.
For Tampa, the rest should benefit them as several players were nursing bumps and bruises. Add in the fact that they’ve played more hockey than any other team in the last three years, and more recovery time should lead to a better performance once they’re back in game action.
The Eastern Conference Final is set!
We'll open the series in New York on Wednesday. 👊 pic.twitter.com/gAr2GG1Mqk
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) May 31, 2022
They are the 2nd betting favorite in the 2022 Stanley Cup odds and are expected to advance to their 3rd Cup Final in a row.
After a mediocre opening round by his standards, Andrei Vasilevskiy stole the show against the Panthers and showed why he is a perennial contender in the Vezina Trophy odds. In a four game sweep of the Presidents’ Trophy winners, Vasilevskiy had a 0.75 goals against average and a .981 save percentage. Those are absolutely stunning numbers by any measure.
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) May 31, 2022
Rangers Underdogs Again in NHL Odds
Once again, the Rangers have been made underdogs in this series as well as the first game. They do have home ice advantage on their side, which meant a ton in their last series against the Hurricanes where they went three for three at Madison Square Garden.
Everybody in the hockey world knows the Rangers’ hopes rest squarely on the shoulders of Hart Trophy odds finalist Igor Shesterkin. Without him playing at his top level, the Blueshirts don’t have much of a chance.
Igor Shesterkin against the @TBLightning this season: 3-0-0, .958 SV% and 1.30 GAA.
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) May 31, 2022
After struggling in the opening round against the Penguins, the Russian netminder flipped the script against the Hurricanes. He put in one of the best campaigns ever during the regular season and has proved it’s no fluke.
Igor Shesterkin 2022 Playoff Stats
|Opponent||Goals Against Average||Save Percentage|
|Pittsburgh Penguins (1st Round)||3.66||.910|
|Carolina Hurricanes (2nd Round)||1.72||.949|
Shesterkin also tops the list in goals saved above expected in the playoffs so for with 11.4. Just behind him in that category? His countryman and opponent, Vasilevskiy who has 11.0 goals saved above expected in the postseason.
Lightning vs Rangers Recent Results
|03/19/2022||TB 1 – NYR 2||NYR||NYR||Under|
|01/02/2022||NYR 4 – TB 0||NYR||NYR||Under|
|12/31/2022||TB 3 – NYR 4 (SO)||NYR||NYR||Over|
|11/14/2019||TB 9 – NYR 3||TB||TB||Over|
|10/29/2019||NYR 4 – TB 1||NYR||NYR||Over|
For what it’s worth, the Rangers had pretty good success against the Bolts this season, sweeping the season series.
Lightning vs Rangers Pick
When taking into account the Lightning vs Rangers Wednesday NHL odds, Tampa’s number one netminder has to be a major part of the equation. Not just because of how incredible he is, but in comparison him to the goalies the Rangers have faced in the playoffs so far.
In the first round, the Penguins were forced to play Louis Domingue, their 3rd string goaltender for five games of the series due to injuries. In the 2nd round, the Rangers shooters went up against Hurricanes backup Antti Raanta who performed admirably until getting hurt in Game 7.
Vasilevskiy is no backup. He is the best big game goalie in the league as he has continued to prove it in this postseason. He’s arguably the best goalie in the league with the only legitimate argument being his opponent in this one at the other end, Shesterkin.
While the Rangers were able to find the back of the net 11 times in their last two games against Carolina, they’re up against a totally different animal now. With the two best goalies in the world involved in this series, the most educated NHL bet to make in Game 1 is taking under 5.5 goals at Barstool Sportsbook.
Pick: Under 5.5 (-114)