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NHL Playoffs Game 1 Odds, Preview, Prediction: Lightning vs. Rangers (June 1)

NHL Playoffs Game 1 Odds, Preview, Prediction: Lightning vs. Rangers (June 1) article feature image
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Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin.

  • The Tampa Bay Lightning jet north to face the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • The Rangers are slight home underdogs, but analyst Nicholas Martin has targeted the over/under for his top play.
  • Check out below to see which side he has landed on for Wednesday's opener.

Lightning vs. Rangers Game 1 Odds

Lightning Odds -130
Rangers Odds +105
Over/Under 5.5 (+105/-125)
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final is set to get underway as the New York Rangers host the Tampa Bay Lightning. These two teams squared off three times in the regular season as the under hit in two of those three meetings.

So, will we get another low-scoring affair between these teams to kick off the series or will the offenses pick up this time around? Let’s take a look.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning enter the series as the heavy betting favorites for the series, laying around -175 odds after sweeping the Florida Panthers. Due to their quick work of the Panthers, the Lightning will enter on eight days of rest.

There were two main storylines to take away from Tampa Bay’s sweep of Florida, the first of which was the outstanding play of starting goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. The standout was out of his mind against Florida, holding one of the league’s best offenses to one or fewer goals in all four games. That led to him boasting an absurd 0.981 save percentage during that stretch.

Among the four remaining starting goaltenders left, Vasilevskiy ranks first in 5-on-5 save percentage at 0.943 and second in 5-on-5goals saved above expected per 60 minutes at +0.940 overall. Due to his effort, the total has stayed under 5.5 goals in four of Tampa Bay’s last five playoff games.

The other storyline to follow in this series is the health status of star forward Brayden Point. While nothing has been confirmed, the rumors are Point will not only miss the start of the series, but might be done for the entire round again.

While Tampa Bay has obviously proven it can win without him, its scoring took a massive dip. Point’s absence might be even more evident, as the Rangers and Igor Shesterkin are one of the toughest teams to score against.

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New York Rangers

The Rangers reached this point after beating the Carolina in Game 7 on Monday in Raleigh. In a completely opposite fashion than Tampa Bay, the Rangers are forced to enter Game 1 on just a day of rest due to the length of their series against the Hurricanes.

Just as the main storyline for Tampa Bay has been the stellar play of Vasilevskiy. Amongst the four starting goaltenders left, Shesterkin ranks second in 5-on-5 save percentage at 0.938 and first in 5-on-5 GSAx per 60 minutes at +1.003 overall.

Due to his remarkable showing, the total has gone under 5.5 goals in five of New York’s last seven games. To reach this point, It was essential that Shesterkin played well, as New York’s metrics have been troubling.

In the postseason, the Rangers rank last among the four teams left in 5-on-5 xG per 60 minutes and 5-on-5 xGA per 60 minutes. That said, the Rangers should be live in this series since Shesterkin has cemented himself as a clear-cut, top-two goaltender in the world.

Rangers vs. Lightning Pick

We are at the point in the postseason where it’s impossible to bet against either of goaltender. Unless one starts to regress, the under should be a good play for the first few games.

Due to the loss of Point, Tampa Bay’s offense has regressed, as it now ranks third among the four teams in 5-on-5 xG per 60 minutes. Without him, Tampa Bay might struggle to generate a ton of goals, just as it did against Florida.

On the other side of the ice, New York is facing one of the best goaltenders of this generation, as Vasilevskiy continues to dominate any team in his path.

Pick: Total Under 5.5 Goals (-115 | Play to -125)

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