Tampa Bay Lightning (45-29-5) at New York Rangers (44-26-9)
|Date & Time||Tuesday April 5, 2016, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: New York Rangers +135 / Tampa Bay Lightning -163 --- Over/Under:
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The Rangers look to inch closer to locking up home ice in the first round as they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at MSG on Tuesday.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are in a heap of trouble right now as they finish off their New York road trip at MSG against the Rangers after getting pasted by the Islanders last night and will be without Steven Stamkos for the foreseeable future. The Bolts need just a single point to lock up a playoff spot and they will likely achieve that in the coming days but without their star player and best offensive weapon I think Tampa Bay could be on track for an early exit in these playoffs as they haven’t had a ton of secondary scoring this season. Andrei Vasilevskiy is expected to get the start in the second half of a back to back for the Lightning while Antii Raanta will counter for the Blue Shirts who are also playing their second in as many nights.
The Rangers finally locked up a playoff spot with a win against the Columbus Blue Jackets last night and now they have their sights set on chasing down the Penguins for the second seed in the Metro division and home ice in the first round. The Rangers have been up and down this season but are quietly sitting 18 games above the .500 mark and if they can get a win here against the Lightning it would put them in a good position to at least set up a close finish with the Penguins. New York will turn to Raanta here but he has been brilliant in relief this season and while the Bolts may be desperate I just don’t like their roster without Stamkos in the lineup. Take the Rangers.