Lightning vs. Rangers series odds, preview and best bet

Against the chances — and the run of play — the New York Rangers are into the Eastern Conference Final. It’s taken two Game 7’s, 5 elimination-game wins and fairly a little bit of luck to get right here, however that doesn’t matter anymore. All that issues now could be whether or not the Rangers can proceed their run by upsetting the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions.

And although the Rangers are the upper seed and have home-ice benefit, it will be an upset if the Blueshirts advance to the Stanley Cup. Oddsmakers have put in the Rangers as a +150 underdog towards the Lightning, which means they’ve roughly a 40 % likelihood of profitable the best-of-seven once you convert the chances to implied win chance. 

Even if they’re the underdog, there are many causes to be assured that the Rangers can, on the very least, give the Lightning a run for his or her money on this series. 

And all of it begins in objective with Igor Shesterkin.

After an up-and-down efficiency towards the Penguins in Round 1, Shesterkin posted a .945 save proportion and a +14.4 Goals Saved Above Expected (GSAx) within the seven video games towards Carolina. The 26-year-old Russian was the distinction in a series the place the Hurricanes out-shot the Rangers, 235 to 183, and had a 118-88 edge in high-danger scoring possibilities.

Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin makes a save in the third period of Game 7 against the Hurricanes.
Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin makes a save within the third interval of Game 7 towards the Hurricanes.
Corey Sipkin

It’s laborious to poke holes in Shesterkin’s type in the intervening time, however you will need to notice that his competitors by means of the primary two rounds of the match has left rather a lot to be desired. In truth, Game 1 towards Tampa Bay can be simply the second time all postseason that the Blueshirts will face the opposition’s No. 1 goaltender. And the one different time New York performed towards a beginning netminder was in Game 7 towards the Penguins, after they defeated Tristan Jarry, who was taking part in his first recreation in a month after being rushed again from a damaged foot. 

The vast hole within the goaltending division has allowed the Rangers to outlive and advance regardless of taking part in underwhelming hockey at 5-on-5. No staff within the postseason has a decrease anticipated objectives share (39.7 %) or high-danger scoring likelihood rate (35.8 %) at even power. Through 14 video games the Blueshirts have allowed 215 high-danger scoring possibilities at 5-on-5. They have created 120 for themselves. 

Thanks to Shesterkin, a dynamic energy play and their high-skill gamers, the Rangers don’t want to manage play or create extra scoring alternatives to have success. They can cover their warts with goaltending and changing the probabilities they do create. That is particularly true when going up towards pedestrian goaltenders or groups that lack ending expertise. 

So whereas the Rangers may get away with getting out-chanced by a large margin towards the Penguins and Hurricanes, it will likely be a way more tough proposition towards the Lightning, who’re one of many few groups within the NHL which have a goaltender in the identical stratosphere as Igor Shesterkin.

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Like Shesterkin, Andrei Vasilevskiy was not his common world-beating self for the primary few video games of Round 1. Also like Shesterkin, it was only a matter of time earlier than Vasilevskiy rounded into type. 

After stopping 30 of 31 photographs in Game 7 towards the Maple Leafs, Vasilevskiy allowed three objectives on 154 photographs in a four-game sweep of the Panthers. Through 11 video games, Vasilevskiy has skated to a .932 save proportion and a +11 GSAx.  

Goaltending is notoriously laborious to project, so we received’t know the way this titanic battle will play out till the series is over, but it surely does appear fairly secure to imagine that Shesterkin will possible face the harder workload on this series. The Rangers did a very good job disrupting Carolina’s offensive rhythm final spherical, however the Hurricanes didn’t actually have a Plan B after the Blueshirts shut down the forecheck. Tampa Bay, however, is probably the most versatile staff within the NHL. 

Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) makes a save on a shot by the Panthers during the third period in Game 3 of a second-round playoff series Sunday, May 22, 2022, in Tampa, Fla.
Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) makes a save on a shot by the Panthers throughout Game 3.

No matter the way you need to play towards the Lightning, they normally have an answer for it. They’ve ousted defensive powerhouses just like the Islanders and Stars, offensive dynamos just like the Maple Leafs and Panthers, and a mix of each just like the Hurricanes throughout their present three-season run. 

The Rangers have achieved success within the playoffs by turning video games and series into coin flips and then counting on Shesterkin and the facility play to be the distinction. Gerard Gallant’s staff have rapidly develop into specialists at hanging round and not beating themselves this postseason. That activity can be harder towards the Lightning, but it surely’s how the Rangers might want to play in the event that they need to give themselves a possible likelihood towards the Bolts.

Tampa Bay is the higher staff, however that has not mattered towards the Rangers to date. At higher than 2/1 odds, there’s loads of worth betting on this series to go the space.

The bet: Over 6.5 Games +210 (bet365)

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