Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Aims to Threepeat, Now Faces Gritty New York Rangers in East Finals

NHL May 31, 2022

The Tampa Bay Lightning are in hot pursuit of a third straight Stanley Cup championship, something no NHL team has done since the early 1980s New York Islanders

Many NHL fans and bettors alike wrote off the Tampa Bay Lightning months ago. At least five teams were thought to be superior according to the mid-season odds. The Lightning were also disrespected by oddsmakers in their two playoff series -- against Toronto and Florida.

Now with a possible dynasty in the conversation, the Lightning have begun to strike, seemingly improving with every game.

Tampa Bay faces a formidable test in the Eastern Conference Finals versus a feisty New York Rangers team that knows how to win in crunch time. The Rangers took Pittsburgh and Carolina to 7 games in both playoff series, and looked to be the more determined team.

While the routes taken by both teams have been challenging, it's hard to argue with the fact these are the best two teams in the East and deserve to be here.

This series will be a battle of the goaltenders with the excellent matchup between Andrei Vasilevskiy and Igor Shesterkin.

The puck drops in Tampa Bay for Game 1 on Wednesday night at 8:00 pm EST. lists the Lightning as 1.80 favourites, which returns 2.05 with a 1,00 unit bet on the Rangers.

The O/U is 5.5 goals, based on two excellent goaltenders.


Prediction (powered by

Tampa Bay has been here before. And, they've now won ten consecutive playoff series. Those are impressive numbers.

Here's another number -- 9 days. That's how long it's been since the Lightning played a hockey game.

Even though Tampa Bay has some lingering injuries, we have to believe this is the perfect storm for another lightning strike (sorry for the obvious weather reference).

Well rested, experienced, at home, laying a reasonably small price, and led by one of the greatest goaltenders in playoff history....we have to go with Tampa Bay in Game 1.

As far as the series goes, we have mad respect for what the Rangers have done this season under Gerard Gallant (dig coming--how do you like that decision to let gallant go now, Vegas Golden Knights?). However, Tampa Bay is on a roll after destroying Florida in a sweep, while the gritty Rangers were forced to play a pair of seven-game series.  While Igor Shesterkin will keep the Rangers close in most games, Andrei Vasilevskiy will once again show that he is the best goaltender in the world in leading the Lightning to another Stanley Cup Final.


Tampa Bay Lightning – 3

New York Rangers --2