The Lightning return home and are hoping the partisan crowd and the familiar ice will help them cut a 2-0 series deficit in half against the relentless New York Rangers. Let’s analyze this matchup and keep cashing our NHL picks!
Rangers vs. Lightning
Sunday, June 05, 2022 – 03:00 PM EDT at Amalie Arena
After watching a tight-checking 2-2 affair midway through the second-period morph into a 6-2 Game 1 blowout, the Lightning were certain to be far more vigilant about letting Game 2 get out of hand. And that proved to be largely true but when it was all said and done, a second consecutive loss was staring Tampa Bay in the face as they return home trailing 2-0 to the Rangers.
The NHL odds revealed the Lightning as small road chalk yet again, and Friday night’s game started on a high note for the Bolts as Nikita Kucherov connected for his fifth goal of the postseason on the power play just a little more than two minutes into the game.
But that’s where Tampa’s momentum came to a halt because three minutes later K'Andre Miller would even the score, followed by Kaapo Kakko’s tally late in the period, as the Rangers took a 2-1 lead into what would be a scoreless second period.
Mika Zibanejad lit the lamp only a minute into the final stanza to give New York a daunting 3-1 lead that would be followed by Nicholas Paul’s third playoff goal, cutting the lead to 3-2 late in the period with an extra skater.
But that’s where it would end as New York claimed a huge Game 2 victory and is in total command of the series as they travel to the Sunshine State for the next two games.
“It's a huge win for us, but we just get ready for the next one," Rangers coach Gerard Gallant said. "The way we played the last two games, that's the way we're going to have to play to win the series. We want to battle hard; we want to compete hard and we've been a tough out so far.”
The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions have won their last 10 playoff series and entered Game 2 having won 17 straight games coming off a loss. But the Rangers’ 24-year-old Norris Trophy winner, Adam Fox, who scored the first goal of his NHL career against the Lightning back in 2019 and copped the No. 1 Star with his two assists in New York’s Friday night victory, was undeterred by the lengthy string of success the Lightning had enjoyed after a loss.
“Their team obviously had a good playoff streak of not losing back-to-back games but that's not really in our minds when we're coming to the games," Fox said. “We're not thinking about what streaks teams have or how they've done earlier. It's right now and we're just trying to bring it day in and day out.”
- The Rangers are 1-5 in their last 6 games as a road underdog.
- The home team is 5-2 in the last 7 meetings.
- The Lightning are 6-2 in their last 8 vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- The Lightning are 37-15 in their last 52 games as a home favorite.
- Under is 7-2 in the Rangers’ last 9 games as a road underdog.
- Under is 5-2 in the Rangers’ last 7 when their opponent scores 2 goals or less in their previous game.
- Under is 6-1 in the Lightning’s last 7 vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 6-1 in the Lightning’s last 7 overall.
How to Bet on Lightning vs. Rangers Game 2
The Rangers are winning this series 2-0 but, let’s face it, Game 2 could have gone either way, and had New York not had Igor Shesterkin between the pipes, chances are this series would be all tied up entering Sunday afternoon’s Game 3 showdown.
Speaking of Shesterkin, he is clearly outplaying his superstar contemporary, Andrei Vasilevskiy, as the Lightning have outshot the Rangers in both games thus far, winning that battle 70-62 after the first two contests.
I don’t believe we are going to see anything but a Tampa Bay jailbreak in this game as they are aware that if they lose Game 3, the series is effectively over. The Lightning will not win four consecutive games against a team as gritty as the Rangers who happen to have a steel curtain in front of their net.
The Lightning will have to take more chances with their defensemen pinching in and forcing play in the offensive zone. This will allow opportunities for the Rangers to break behind the Tampa defense but that’s where Vasilevskiy will have to prove his worth as he has so many times before. Lay the lumber with the Bolts and watch this game go low.
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