NHL Eastern Conference Finals Betting Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Rangers

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Eastern Conference Finals
#2 Tampa Bay Lightning vs #1 New York Rangers
Best of Seven Series Format: 2-2-1-1-1
Series Price: Rangers -140 / Lightning +120
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes Sportsbook.

Game #1 Saturday, May 16, 2015, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Madison Square Garden – New York City, New York
Opening Line: New York -145 / Tampa Bay +125
Current Line: New York -140 / Tampa Bay +120
Opening Total: over 4 1/2 -110 / under 4 1/2 -110
Current Total: under 5 -130 / over 5 +110

The rangers host the Lightning in game one of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
The Rangers host the Lightning in game one of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday at Madison Square Garden.

Last season, just before the trade deadline, the Tampa Bay Lightning traded captain Martin St. Louis to the New York Rangers for a couple of first round draft picks and forward Ryan Callahan. Although both teams made the playoffs after the trade, the Rangers made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals but the Lightning were swept in the first round.

Now flash forward to one season later and the Rangers and Lightning will meet in the Eastern Conference Finals. Game one is Saturday in New York at Madison Square Garden. The winner will face either the Anaheim Ducks or Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals.

New York, coached by Alain Vigneault, won the President’s Cup for having the best record in the league during the regular season with a 53-22-7 record and 113 points. The Rangers easily won the Metropolitan Division. In the playoffs the Rangers beat the wild card Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 in the first round and the #2 seed Washington Capitals in seven games in the conference semifinals. The Rangers trailed the series 3-1 against the Capitals but won 3 straight games including 2-1 in overtime in game seven Wednesday night. Remarkably, dating back to last season, the Rangers have played 14 straight post-season games decided by one goal. Eight of their twelve post season games have been 2-1 games this season.

Tampa Bay, coached by Jon Cooper, finished second in the Atlantic Division with a 50-24-8 record and 108 points, two points behind the Montreal Canadiens. The Lightning beat the #3 seed Detroit Red Wings in seven games in the first round, despite trailing 3-2 in the series. Tampa Bay took a 3-0 series lead against the Canadiens in the second round, but ended up winning the series in six games, including 4-1 in the clincher Tuesday night. Tampa Bay is back in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2011.

Strangely, all three meetings this season between the Lightning and Rangers took place in a two week stretch between November 17 and December 1. Tampa Bay won all three meetings outscoring New York 15-7 combined. This is the first ever playoff meeting between the teams.

Some of the best online sportsbooks offer sign up bonuses to Maddux clients. 

New York is outscoring teams 2.00-1.67 in the playoffs. Of the sixteen playoff teams, New York is 15th in scoring but #1 in goals allowed. The Rangers are 6/38 (15.8%) on the power play in the playoffs and 25/28 (89.3%) on the penalty kill. New York averages 32 shots per game and allow 30 per game.

New York goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is 8-4 in the playoffs with a 1.60 goals against average. He has a .944 save percentage with no shutouts. He has been the only goalie for the Rangers in the playoffs.

Center Derick Brassard has 5 goals and 3 assists for the Rangers. Derek Stepan has 3 goals and 5 assists. Rick Nash has 2 goals and 5 assists. Ryan McDonagh has 2 goals and 4 assists. Chris Kreider has 5 goals. Six other players have 4 points in the playoffs including Carl Hagelin, Dan Boyle, St. Louis, and Dan Girardi. Boyle is probable for game one for undisclosed reasons. Left wing Mats Zuccarello is doubtful with a concussion.

Our NHL odds page allows you to see the latest line moves instantly.

Tampa Bay is outscoring teams 2.62-2.15 in the playoffs this season. The Lightning are #4 in scoring and #5 in goals allowed. The Lightning are 9/50 (18%) on the power play in the playoffs and 39/45 (86.7%) on the penalty kill. The Lightning have 2 short handed goals and have allowed 2 as well. Tampa Bay averages 27.3 shots per game and opponents average 27.7.

Goalie Ben Bishop is 8-5 in the playoffs with a 1.81 goals against average. He has a save percentage of .931 with one shutout. Bishop was benched in one of the games against Montreal in favor of Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Center Tyler Johnson has 8 goals and 4 assists. Nikita Kucherov has 6 goals and 5 assists. Steven Stamkos has 3 goals and 7 assists. Alex Killorn has 3 goals and 6 assists. Ondrej Palat has 3 goals and 5 assists. Valtteri Filppula and Victor Hedman each have six points in the playoffs. Callahan is  a game time decision after undergoing an appendectomy last week. He has 3 assists in the playoffs.

Tampa Bay is 5-1 after allowing 2 goals or less, 4-1 in road games and after a win, 8-2 on three or more days rest, 6-2 against teams with winning records, overall and against Eastern Conference teams. The road team is 4-1 in this series recently. The Lightning have won the last 4 games in this series.

New York is 4-1 at home, 12-4 in Saturday games, 50-19 overall, 40-16 after scoring 2 goals or less, 37-15 against Eastern Conference teams, 32-13 after allowing 2 goals or less, 36-15 after a win, 7-3 against Atlantic teams, and 64-29 against teams with losing road records. The over is 4-1-1 in this series recently.

This should be a very close series, and might even go the full seven. New York has struggled to score in the playoffs but Lundqvist has been his normal dominant future hall of famer self. Tampa is scoring more and had has been good on defense if not great. I don’t put much stock in the three regular season meetings as they happened before Christmas. I think the Rangers win the series in seven games and it starts with a game one victory by a  2-1 score, which has become the norm for New York.

Get our best NHL hockey picks now to crush the books.

Share This Post

The information contained at this site is for entertainment purposes only. Any use of this information in violation of any state, federal, or local laws is prohibited.
Copyright © MadduxSports.com - Premier Sports Picks and Sports Odds Web site