Another long series for the New York Rangers and more games to consider in New York sports betting.
The Rangers lost Game 4 against Tampa Bay, so their 2-0 series lead has turned into a 2-2 series split, heading into tonight’s matchup at Madison Square Garden (ESPN, 8 p.m.).
Eastern Conference Finals Schedule, Results
- Game 1: Rangers 6, Lightning 2
- Game 2: Rangers 3, Lightning 2
- Game 3: Lightning 3, Rangers 2
- Game 4: Lightning 4, Rangers 1
- Game 5: Tonight at New York, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
- Game 6: Saturday at Tampa Bay, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
- *Game 7: Tuesday at New York, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
New York entered Game 4 as an underdog on New York sports betting apps and were unable to defy the odds.
Similar to the previous round against Carolina, home ice has been vitally important in this series, with the home team winning each game. Now the series shifts back to New York for Game 5.
The Rangers have been excellent at Madison Square Garden, winning a franchise-record eight consecutive home games. Despite this, the oddsmakers have made the Rangers an underdog in NHL betting in Game 5.
BetMGM Sportsbook New York has made the Lightning the favorite to win Game 5 at odds of -130 with the Rangers coming in at +110.
Fan Duel Sportsbook New York also has the Lightning as -130, with the Rangers at +108.
The reason for this isn’t just that momentum is on Tampa Bay’s side. Injuries have begun to pile up for the Rangers.
Ryan Strome missed Game 4, a loss that had a big impact on their second line and a trickle-down effect on the lineup.
No Rest for Weary Rangers
Fatigue is also a concern and can be blamed for some of the injury woes.
New York has gone the distance in each of its series wins, beating both Pittsburgh and Carolina in seven games. This hasn’t given the Rangers any time off. That momentum helped them early in the series, but it appears they’re beginning to wear down.
On the other hand, the Lightning won their second-round matchup in four games and have had a ton of rest. That might have hurt them as they were a bit rusty to open the series but is only helping as the series progresses.
Most troubling for the Rangers was the pace of the last game.
New York clearly has been comfortable playing fast-paced games with tons of shots and chances for each team. The Rangers have been happy to give up 40 or more shots to the opposition, knowing that Vezina and Hart Trophy candidate Igor Shesterkin usually will deliver a stellar performance.
They have succeeded with this tempo all season long, thanks to Shesterkin and a high-powered offense led by stars Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox.
However, the Lightning were able to control the pace of Game 4, and the result was a dominant 4-1 win.
It could have been the home ice advantage and coach Jon Cooper controlling the matchups. It could have been the discrepancy in rest between the two teams. Or it simply could have been the championship-winning experience shining through for a Tampa Bay squad that has won the previous two Stanley Cups.
What Rangers Need to Do and Possible Bets
Whatever it was, the Rangers are going to need to get back to controlling the tempo and playing their style of game if they want to give themselves the best chance to win Game 5 and take the series lead.
With both Shesterkin and the Lightning’s Andrei Vasilevskiy playing exceptionally well, oddsmakers have once again set the goal total at a very low 5.5.
The under continuously hit in New York’s previous series against Carolina and has hit in the last three games with five goals being scored in each match.
It likely will take an empty net goal for the over to hit in this game as the goalies won’t allow much, but with odds as great as +120 on the over at some sportsbooks that has to be the optimal play in this one.
New York sports fans and bettors will be more intrigued in the outcome being a New York win at +110 on the moneyline, but for the value the bet on the over is the way to go.
For those interested in the player prop market, Panarin will look to build on his goal scored late in Game 4 and is the best option for those looking to bet on a player to score.