NHL Hockey Betting: Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Rangers

NHL Hockey Betting:  Tampa Bay Lightning at New York Rangers&h=235&w=320&zc=1

Although there won’t be a Canadian winner of the Stanley Cup this season the NHL playoffs continue on Monday night as the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers contest Game Two of their best of seven Eastern Conference Finals series at Madison Square Garden. The Rangers lead 1-0 thanks to a one goal victory in Game One. Games Three and Four will be played at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.

The Rangers have been anointed as the ‘team to beat’ among the four remaining playoff entrants but that’s a tough thing to figure. First of all, they’re playing a team that dominated them during the regular season. The Lightning won all four regular season meetings against the Rangers by a combined score of 17-8. There’s a mistaken notion that the Lightning are all offense/no defense. That may have been the case in the past but so far in the playoffs they’ve shown improved balance and vastly improved goaltending. Ben Bishop has come into his own as a legitimate starting goaltender and the entire team has a new found toughness and commitment to defense.

New York has made it to the finals but it hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been one tough game after another all playoffs for the Rangers. Every Rangers’ playoff game this season has been decided by a single goal. Throw in their last two games of last season’s playoffs and that’s fifteen straight one goal games–a league record. The Rangers aren’t scoring averaging just two goals per game in the playoffs which is a full goal per game less than their regular season tally. Leading scorer Rick Nash has been a complete non-factor in the post season–at least on offense. Nash’s defensive play has been solid but the Rangers expected more than two goals in thirteen games.

Tampa Bay hasn’t scored a ton of goals either and to be fair they need more from *their* leading scorer, Steven Stamkos. Stamkos has started to heat up after a horrible start with 3 goals and 7 assists in the playoffs. This series is a much more even matchup than the general public thinks and a much more even one than the price suggests.


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