Tampa Bay Lightning (58-29-8) at New York Rangers (61-26-7)
|Date & Time||Saturday May 16, 2015, 1:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: New York Rangers -135 / Tampa Bay Lightning +115 --- Over/Under: 5.5
The Tampa Bay Lightning battle the New York Rangers in game one of the Eastern Conference finals.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have reached the Eastern Conference finals courtesy of a 4-2 series win against Montreal. The Lightning have reached the conference finals three times and won the Stanley Cup in 2004 and should have some confidence having won all three meetings in the regular season. TB has shown tremendous ability at both ends of the ice with Ben Bishop looking rock solid between the pipes with a 1.81 GAA and .931 save percentage. The team gave up one short handed goal in 16 power plays and were deadly on the PP with a 7-20 success rate. Center Tyler Johnson has been a monster with a playoff leading eight goals while Nikita Kucherov killed the Canadiens with six goals. Ryan Callahan could prove to be key in this series if he can make it back from having his appendectomy.
The New York Rangers have been the odds on favorite to make a return visit to the Stanley Cup finals by most experts. They hay positioned themselves for a return thus far after ousting the Penguins in round one and then stunning the Washington Capitals in seven games. The Rangers came back from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Capitals 2-1 in a dramatic game seven at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday. A Lion’s Share of the credit for the team getting this far has to be Henrik Lundqvist who posted a miniscule 1.61 goals against average along with a .944 save percentage. These numbers are all the more impressive considering the New York offense provided little help with two goals being an offensive explosion. Derek Brassard and Chris Kreider led the Rangers with five goals each followed by Derek Stepan with three but the team will need others to step up offensively to help out Lundqvist.
The Lightning are 5-1 in their last 6 after allowing 2 goals or less in their previous game and the under is 5-1-1 in Lightning last 7 Saturday games while Tampa Bay are 5-1 in their last 6 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game. The under is 4-0-1 in Rangers last 5 home games and is 3-0-1 in Rangers last 4 games playing on 2 days rest while New York are 4-0 in their last 4 vs. a team with a winning % above .600. The Lightning are 4-0 in the last 4 meetings and the road team is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings while the over is 4-1-1 in the last 6 meetings. I’m waiting closer to game time for a pick as I wait for injuries and the condition of Callahan…