The New York Rangers had a chance to put the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions on the ropes and take a stranglehold in the Eastern Conference Final series.
As NY sports betting players know, it didn’t happen.
The Rangers were unable to hold on to a 2-0 lead Sunday afternoon in Tampa Bay, losing to the Lightning in the last minute of regulation on a goal by Ondrej Palat.
With a win, New York would have been overwhelming favorites in NHL betting to win the series.
With the loss, though, they now can be bet at -140 to win the series at most New York sports betting apps.
BetMGM Sportsbook New York has the Rangers at -150 to win the series and the Lightning at +125.
Eastern Conference Finals Schedule, Results
- Game 1: Rangers 6, Lightning 2
- Game 2: Rangers 3, Lightning 2
- Game 3: Lightning 3, Rangers 2 (Rangers lead series 2-1).
- Game 4: Tuesday at Tampa Bay. 8 p.m. (ESPN)
- Game 5: Thursday at New York, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
- *Game 6: Saturday at Tampa Bay, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
- *Game 7: June 14 at New York, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Odds for Rangers Moving Forward
Tonight’s Game 4 (ESPN, 8 p.m) gives the Rangers another chance to get their third win of the series. BetMGM has them as +145 moneyline underdogs to win Game 4, quite good odds for a team with Igor Shesterkin in net.
The Rangers, unfortunately, let a stellar performance from their Vezina and Hart Trophy candidate go to waste as he made 49 saves on the 52 shots he faced in the Game 3 loss. It was yet another quality performance from the young netminder who was pulled twice early in the first round but has been sensational ever since. Shesterkin’s puck-handling also has been a huge asset for the Rangers.
Shesterkin has to be outstanding, considering the man in the opposing crease.
Andrei Vasilevskiy is a back-to-back Stanley Cup winner and the man who has led the NHL in wins for five consecutive years. He is coming off a great performance against Florida in the second round. Despite a tough opening game in this series, he has been a worthy opponent for Shesterkin.
Even with two excellent goalies, the most tempting bet in this game has to be the +110 for over 5.5 total goals. With the sheer volume of shots the Lightning are taking and Vasilevskiy’s struggles against the Rangers’ power play, a six-goal game is very much in play.
Power Play Has Sparked Rangers
Special teams have continued to play a huge role in the playoffs, and the Rangers have to like that. Their power play scored two more goals in Game 3 and has been excellent throughout the playoffs.
The Rangers gained a ton of confidence scoring multiple times against Carolina’s top-ranked unit in the previous round, and that has continued in this series.
Mika Zibanejad has been the primary triggerman at the top of the left circle with either Adam Fox or Artemi Panarin feeding him for one-timers. Chris Kreider has been great in front of the net all season and scored one from that spot Sunday. It was the 34th career playoff goal for the Rangers, tying him for the all-time franchise lead.
With these offensive players all on fire, New York has to take advantage and keep putting the pressure on the Lightning to keep up.
Doing so for Tampa Bay are the stars who have led them to the past two Stanley Cups. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov scored in Game 3. Kucherov’s great performance was the most promising sign of all.
Victor Hedman also provided offense in the game and was firing shots at Shesterkin all night long.
The depth of this Lightning team isn’t what it was in years past, with several key members gone due to the salary cap and Brayden Point still on the shelf with injury.
That means more pressure falls on the superstars than has been the case in recent years.
Alex Killorn has struggled quite a bit in these playoffs. Anthony Cirelli and Palat have taken turns trying to fill in on the top line, with only Palat providing a decent return.
There isn’t much doubt the Rangers were the underdog coming into this series, and despite their two wins to start the series, they are still being viewed as underdogs, even against a Tampa team they have had success against all year.
At +145, New York bettors should be salivating at the opportunity to make money on their team, led by Shesterkin, to leave Tampa Bay with a win.