Do the Rangers have the Lightning's number? Maybe. New York has now taken 6 of the 7 heads-up meetings this season and also outscored the Tampa Bay 26 to 17.
The surprising New York Rangers head south with an impressive 2-0 Eastern Conference series lead over the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning after a pair of home victories.
In fact, the Rangers have accomplished something that no team has managed over the past three postseasons. They beat the Lightning in consecutive games, forcing the Bolts into a must-win situation as the series shifts to Amalie Arena in Tampa.
From The Star:
Rangers vs. Lightning picks overview
- Lightning 60-minute moneyline (-103)
- Under 5 goals (+148)
- Lightning to score first (-141)
Rangers vs. Lightning picks
Best bet: Lightning 60-minute moneyline (-103)
Tampa Bay showed improvement from Game 1 to 2, and we expect the Bolts to claw their way back into the series in Game 3.
The Lightning posted a better 5v5 Corsi percentage, expected goals percentage, and scoring chances percentage in Game 2 compared to Game 1, according to Natural Stat Trick. That resulted in fewer 5v5 goals allowed, and a closer game overall.
The one area of Tampa Bay’s game that’s been a legitimate cause for concern is its offence. The Bolts have scored two goals or fewer in five of their last seven games, and no player outside of their top-six or first defence pairing has recorded a point in this series.
It is certainly worth noting, however, that the Lightning have been much better scoring at home than on the road in the playoffs. Tampa Bay has averaged four goals per game at Amalie Arena compared to just 2.50 per game everywhere else. That could be a byproduct of head coach Jon Cooper’s ability to put his offensive players in a better position to succeed when he can control the matchups.
We’re banking on the Lightning being the more desperate team in Game 3, and like them to win in regulation.
Key stat: Tampa Bay is leading this series in 5v5 expected goals (5.79-4.25), scoring chances (61-48), and high-danger chances (26-21).
Under 5 goals (+148): There’s still some nice value on the under on 5 goals coming through after it pushed in Game 2. There have been five goals or fewer scored in five of the Lightning’s last seven games, while that’s been the case in six of New York’s last nine games. Including the playoffs, the Rangers’ 56.1% under percentage is the fourth-highest mark in the NHL.
Lightning to score first (-141): If you like the Lightning to win, it’s wise to also wager on them to score first. Tampa Bay has won eight games this postseason and scored first in seven of those outings. Additionally, the Bolts have lost just two of the games they’ve scored first in.
Tampa Bay has scored a first-period goal in both games of this series, and got on the board first in Game 2.