The Tampa Bay Lightning appear poised to reach a third consecutive Stanley Cup Finals as they are heavy home favorites for Game 6 of the East Finals on Saturday vs. the New York Rangers.
Which way to play at BetOnline, one of BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
New York Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Saturday, June 11, 2022 – 08:00 PM EDT at Amalie Arena
When Will the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals Start?
We do know the Western Conference champion Colorado Avalanche will host Game 1, and it probably will start on Wednesday if the two-time Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning eliminates the visiting New York Rangers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night. If the Rangers win, Game 7 is in New York on Tuesday.
If that’s the case, the Stanley Cup Finals might not start until next Saturday in Denver.
Beating the Odds
Colorado is the -185 Cup favorite at BMR’s top-rated books with Tampa Bay at +175 and New York at +1600.
I’d expect the Lightning’s number to shorten a bit if they win Saturday. On this updated series line, Tampa Bay is -500 with a 3-2 lead and New York is +385.
Rangers Need Power Play Chances
The Rangers lost at home in Game 1 of the first round against Pittsburgh but had won eight straight at Madison Square Garden until falling 3-1 to Tampa Bay on Thursday, their third straight overall loss in this series.
The score is a bit misleading as it was tied with two minutes left.
If you had told a Rangers fan that his/her team would score an even-strength goal in Game 5, said fan probably would have assumed a win because the Blueshirts hadn’t scored an even-strength goal since Game 2 but had been dominant on the power play.
Three Power Play
Defenseman Ryan Lindgren gave New York a 1-0 lead at 10:29 of the second – New York had been 7-4 when scoring first in these playoffs -- at 5-on-5 but the Rangers could get no more and finished 0-for-1 with the man advantage.
Simply put: The Rangers aren’t beating the Lightning without at least three power-play chances.
No Tampa Bay player was called for a penalty during regulation: The Rangers drew a Lightning bench minor for too many men on the ice at 7:48 of the third period and Erik Cernak and Steven Stamkos were called for roughing and fighting after the final whistle had gone off.
Game 5 was just the second time in the series the Rangers failed to score on the man advantage.
Igor Shesterkin Analysis
Igor Shesterkin played well enough in stopping 24 of 26 shots but came up short of becoming the fifth different goaltender in NHL history to win at least nine straight home games in a single playoff year.
The Russian has not been near as good on the road all season, and New York is 2-7 away from home in these playoffs.
Thus, you can probably tell where I’m leaning Saturday. The Rangers did overcome 3-2 deficits in each of the previous two rounds, but those weren’t against two-time defending Cup champions.
It appears the Rangers got out of Game 5 without injury. Forwards Ryan Strome and Filip Chytil were both questionable for Game 5 but they played.
New York is 3-9 on the NHL picks in its past 12 as an underdog.
Bolts’ Palat Continues To Be Clutch
When a best-of-seven is tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 holds an all-time series record of 223-61 and 49-15 in the round before the Stanley Cup Finals.
Tampa Bay is 8-2 all-time when leading a series 3-2.
Lighting Roster Analysis
Ondrej Palat isn’t the best player on the Lightning – that would be one of Nikita Kucherov, Steve Stamkos, defenseman Victor Hedman or goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, all future Hall of Famers.
However, the most clutch player on the Bolts clearly is the 31-year-old Czech forward Ondrej Palat.
He perhaps saved Tampa Bay’s season with the game-winning goal at 19:18 of the third in Game 3 and he netted the winner at 18:10 of the third in Game 4.
Thursday’s goal came just minutes after New York’s Ryan Strome missed a golden opportunity on a wide-open net. Palat made history by becoming the first player in NHL history to score multiple game-winning goals during the final 2:00 of regulation in a playoff year.
Palat’s 11 career playoff game-winning goals trail only Joe Pavelski (14) and Evgeni Malkin (13) for the most active players.
The other two goal-scorers weren’t the usual suspects in Game 4: Mikhail Sergachev tied it 1-1 late in the second and Brandon Hagel scored on an empty net for the final margin.
Three of the Tampa Bay’s wins in these playoffs (one in Round 2 vs. Florida) have come via a go-ahead goal in the final two minutes of regulation – a feat only one other team in NHL history has accomplished.
This team is clutch and why it has won back-to-back Cups. Vasilevskiy looked rusty in the first two games but has been great the past three and when he’s on, the Lightning isn’t losing.
The Russian has reached 60 playoff wins in the fifth-shortest time in league history.
Another star forward, Brayden Point, hasn’t played since Game 7 of the first round due to injury but has been skating and could be in there Saturday.
NHL Pick for Today
I am backing the Lightning moneyline play but it’s somewhat pricy so would recommend adding an alternate under 6.5 goals – that way a late empty-netter to make the final perhaps 4-2 isn’t a loser on under 5.5.
NHL Pick: Under 6.5 goals (-240) with BetOnline
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