The Tampa Bay Lightning will head to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final against the New York Rangers at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Lightning have had a long layoff since sweeping their in-state rival Florida Panthers in the second round. The Rangers needed seven games to get past the Carolina Hurricanes. New York has home ice advantage in the series.
Let’s take a look at the odds to win the series and who we think will make it to the Stanley Cup Final.
Lightning vs. Rangers odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Our Pick to advance: Lightning in 6
Tampa Bay is too much for this Rangers team to handle. The Lightning seem to get better as the playoffs continue. Tampa Bay has back-to-back Cup wins and haven’t lost a playoff series since being swept by the Blue Jackets back in the 2019 first round. The Lightning are incredibly tough to play against, similar to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round.
So what’s the difference? Goaltending. The Rangers haven’t faced a real goaltender all playoffs. Casey DeSmith lasted about three periods in Game 1 of the first round before AHL goalie Louis Domingue played most of the series. Tristan Jarry was back in Game 7 but it was his first game action in about a month. A tough spot to say the least. In Round 2, the ‘Canes were without Frederik Andersen, so it was mostly Antti Raanta, who definitely wasn’t 100 percent, and third stringer Pyotr Kochetkov in goal.
The Lightning have Andrei Vasilevskiy, who really started to come around in Game 7 against the Maple Leafs. Vasilevskiy was a wall against the Panthers, allowing three goals in four games. He also tossed a 49-save shutout against Florida to clinch the series in Game 4. Vasilevskiy is nothing like the goaltending the Rangers have seen thus far in the 2022 postseason.
Really, the only path to a series win for the Rangers is for the Bolts to become undisciplined and take a lot of penalties. New York’s power play has carried it to the Conference Final. The Rangers are averaging nearly a PPG per game this postseason. The Lightning have the best penalty kill still standing in the playoffs. If Tampa Bay continues its work on the PK and Vasilevskiy shows up, the Bolts should be able to get past this feisty Rangers team and back to a third straight Cup Final.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL/IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org/chat (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-877-770-STOP (7867) (LA), 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY), visit OPGR.org (OR), call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), ConnexOntario 1-866-531-2600 (ONT), or 1-888-532-3500 (VA). 21+ (18+ NH/WY; 19+ ONT). Physically present in AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/LA/MI/NH/NJ/NY/ONT/OR/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions. DraftKings operates pursuant to an Operating Agreement with iGaming Ontario. Please play responsibly.