NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Lightning vs. Rangers (April 11)

NHL Odds, Preview, Prediction: Lightning vs. Rangers (April 11) article feature image

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: New York Rangers center Vincent Trocheck

  • Tampa Bay and New York kick off their 2022-23 seasons with a showdown at Madison Square Garden.
  • It's a rematch of the 2021-22 Eastern Conference Final between the Lightning and Rangers.
  • Nicholas Martin breaks down the matchup and the player prop where he sees value.

Lightning vs. Rangers Odds

Lightning Odds+100
Rangers Odds-120
Over/Under5.5 (-105 / -115)
Time7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Learn more about the BetMGM bonus code and get up-to-the-minute NHL odds.

A rematch of the 2021-22 Eastern Conference Final will kick off the NHL season Tuesday when the New York Rangers host the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden.

The NHL's hard cap forced the Lightning, who have gone to three straight Cup Finals, into some notable turnover this offseason. Yet Tampa Bay still enters the season with an elite roster and is among the cup favorites again this season.

The Rangers will be nearly running back what was also an excellent roster from last year, and they will hope to take it to the next level this season as their young talents continue to develop at the NHL level. They even enter as short favorites for this opening showdown at home.

What can we expect from this exciting season opener as the two top netminders in the league take the ice at MSG?

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New-look Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay's amazing run finally came to an end last season after it fell in six games to a very worthy Cup champion in a completely stacked Avalanche side.

Yet the team's hand was still forced this summer into letting go of some key pieces from the back-to-back cup championships. Hard decisions were made, and the Lightning will enter with a slightly different look yet what is still an elite and notably well-balanced roster.

Ondrej Palat was lost to the Devils in free agency in what was a move the Lightning simply could not avoid, and Ryan McDonaugh was shipped off to Nashville to help clear some cap, in what likely will go as another very strong move by GM Julien BriseBois.

Tampa chose instead to lock up two younger pieces on what could be very team-friendly deals down the road: Anthony Cirelli (6.25 AAV)  and Mikhail Sergachev (8.5 AAV starting next season), who should remain two of the league's better players moving forward.

Sergachev is listed as day-to-day but did take full practice yesterday, and he seems more likely than not to draw in for this contest.

Brayden Point will also make his return to the lineup for the Lightning after a gruesome leg injury last postseason, and it seems likely the Bolts will stack the top line with Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and him to start the season.

Most importantly Tampa will be starting Andrei Vasilevskiy, who was brilliant yet again last season, and he will surely always be up for a battle with country-mate Igor Shesterkin.

Young Talent Could Propel Rangers

The 2021-22 Rangers season will be remembered for one of the better goaltending seasons in post-lockout history coming from Igor Shesterkin, who snagged 96% of the first-place votes in the Vezina Trophy race.

But beyond that, the Rangers did take a ton of steps forward and now enter this season with a ton of optimism as young pieces such as K'Andre Miller Alexis Lafreniere, Kappo Kakko, Filip Chytil and Vitali Krasvtov hope to push a strong core to the next level.

New York was often outplayed 5-on-5 early last season, but the team cleaned that up down the stretch of the regular season before making a deep run into the playoffs. They now feature the talent to arguably build on last year's run.

Ryan Strome is out for Vincent Trocheck on the second unit/powerplay, which is a clear win in my opinion and could move the needle to some extent.

Deadline acquisitions from last season in Andrew Copp, Frank Vatrano and Tyler Motte are all out, and those minutes will be mainly replaced by Ryan Carpenter, Jimmy Vesey and Sammy Blais when healthy.

Speaking of that, the Rangers were far and away the healthiest team out of the Metropolitan Division last season; the Penguins, Hurricanes, Capitals and Devils fought through considerably more man-games lost, and to top players.

If there's one negative comment I have on the Rangers entering this year is that you're probably not going to run that well injuries-wise in back-to-back years. But with that said, there are young talents ready to take big steps forward as a valid counter to that argument.

Igor Shesterkin posted a ridiculous +34.1 GSAx with a .935 regular season, and his ability to follow up those numbers will also obviously be a massive factor in the Rangers potentially building on last season.

Lightning vs. Rangers Pick

This is a contest I cannot wait to watch after what was somewhat of a soft opening for the NHL with two very blah games overseas.

From a betting perspective, I am not really seeing any value with a side or total – though I do lean to the under – and to me just seems like a good opportunity to continue gathering information in the early going of the season on that front.

An angle that I do like on this contest is backing Vincent Trocheck to record over 0.5 points at -110, which is available on Bet365.

Trocheck will likely be skating on a line with Artemi Panarin and Vitali Kravtsov, which could be quite potent this season, and most importantly will also be taking Ryan Strome's spot on a Rangers powerplay that which was very effective last year.

In those roles, I believe Trocheck is being a little undervalued here, and if you wanted to play him to score a goal as well, I can definitely get on board with that.

Vitali Kravtsov props are proving hard to find at the major sportsbooks, but he's another guy I will be targeting in the early season.

Pick: Vincent Trocheck Over 0.5 Points -110 (Play to -115)

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