SPORTS CHAT PLACE
The Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers meet in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals in NHL action from Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.
The Tampa Bay Lightning come into the Eastern Conference Finals rested, not having played since May 23rd after sweeping the President’s Trophy winning Florida Panthers in four games. Nikita Kucherov has a team-high 15 points with 4 goals and 11 assists while Victor Hedman also has a pair of goals and 8 assists. Ondrej Palat has 8 points with 4 goals and 4 assists while Ross Colton also has 8 points with a team-high 5 goals. Steven Stamkos also has 8 points with 4 goals and 4 assists as well this postseason. Andrei Vasilevskiy has a 8-3 record with an .932 save percentage and a 2.22 GAA this postseason.
The New York Rangers will look to keep the momentum going after a second straight seven-game series win with their triumph over the Carolina Hurricanes. Mika Zibanejad leads the Rangers with 19 points including 7 goals and 12 assists while Adam Fox has 18 points with 5 goals and a team-high 13 assists. Andrew Copp has 12 points split between 6 goals and 6 apples while Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin each have 11 points with Kreider logging a team-high 8 goals and Panarin logging 4 goals and 7 assists. Igor Shesterkin’s gone 8-5 in the postseason with a 2.68 GAA and a .928 save percentage this postseason.
Tampa Bay is 6-0 in their last 6 games overall and 4-1 in their last 5 road games while the under is 5-0 in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record. New York is 6-2 in their last 8 games as a home underdog and 42-20 in their last 62 home games while the under is 7-2-1 in their last 10 playoff games as an underdog.
I get the reasoning for backing the Lightning here as they’re the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs with over a week of rest while the Rangers just had a seven-game war with the Hurricanes. However, the layoff could leave the Lightning a bit rusty early on while the Rangers will continue the same pace they’ve been on the entire series against Carolina and really haven’t taken a step back. This game’s going to be super important for the Rangers to get started on the right foot so give me the Rangers and the plus money.