Tampa Bay Lightning will meet the New York Rangers in Sunday’s action of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals action. The hosts eye their first win in the series, and they want to take full advantage of playing on the home ice. The visitors have an advantage in this tie, and they look forward to increasing it.
Tampa Bay was unsuccessful on the road, and they want to bounce back in front of the home fans. The home side will get into big trouble if they lose the upcoming game. On the other hand, New York was pretty confident at home, hoping to continue in the same fashion on the road. However, they won’t have an easy job against the two-time defending champions.
Tampa Bay Lightning – Will they get back into this tie?
The Lightning is 2-0 down in the playoffs for the first time this season, and I’m expecting a response from them. After a comfortable defeat in the series opener, they were closer to a victory in Game 2, but without success. Tampa Bay opened the game with a lead, but they were 2-1 down at the end of the first period. The second third was very quiet, and in the final period, Tampa Bay was unable to turn around the result, and the game ended 3-2. Again, the Bolts fired more shots toward the rival’s goal while winning eight faceoffs more than the Rangers. Nevertheless, they need to be more productive in front of the home fans.
Nikita Kucherov leads Tampa Bay’s offense in the post-season with 17 points and a team-high 12 assists. Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos managed to reach the ten-point mark, combining for 21 pts. Ondrej Palat has chipped in with nine pts, Ross Colton has eight, while Nicholas Paul and Corey Perry have contributed to the Bolts’ offense with seven points each. On the other hand, Andrei Vasilevskiy concedes 2.58 goals per contest and saves 92.1% of the opponent’s shots.
Expected Line-Up: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Jan Rutta, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat, Steven Stamkos
with best odds
New York Rangers – Are they capable of winning on the road?
The Rangers go to Tampa with a solid 2-0 advantage, but they will have a tough task of keeping it intact. A 3-2 victory on Friday evening helped them defend the home-ice advantage, and they won’t have so much pressure as their opponents. Although New York was 1-0 down at the beginning of Game 2, they managed to turn the result around and celebrate an important win. Despite firing fewer shots to the rival’s net, the Rangers were more clinical in the offense. However, they should keep that trend if they want to secure a positive result in Tampa.
Adam Fox and Mika Zibanejad have led the Rangers’ offense with 22 points each. Zibanejad tops the scoring charts with nine goals, while Fox is the team’s best assistant with 17. Chris Kreider has produced 14 pts, while Andrew Copp and Artemi Panarin have contributed to New York’s offense with 13 each. Frank Vatrano has also crossed the 10-point mark, while three other skaters have chipped in with nine pts each. Regarding the goaltending, Igor Shesterkin has made 16 appearances in the playoffs and has a .929 save percentage.
Expected Line-Up: Igor Shesterkin, Adam Fox, Jacob Trouba, Artemi Panarin, Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad
Expert Pick #1 – Tampa Bay Lightning to Win @-175
After two unsuccessful outings, I expect the defending champions to bounce back and book the first win in this series. They should be more comfortable in front of their fans, and the Bolts should make the first step toward the tie in the conference finals. That’s going to be my first pick.
Expert Pick #2 – Under 5.5 @-125
We should be back in the defensive mode after the latest game stayed under the margin. It should be another tight match, and I don’t expect these two sides to score more than five goals in total. Give me the Under as the second bet.
Expert Pick #3 – New York Rangers Under 2.5 @-135
Tampa Bay should get its defensive steel back, and I don’t see the Rangers scoring more than twice in this encounter. New York didn’t score more than a goal in three of the last four games on the road, and the Lightning should be capable of stopping them. I’ll take this one as my third pick.