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Tuesday NHL Playoffs Game 4 Odds, Picks, Predictions: Rangers vs. Lightning Betting Preview

Tuesday NHL Playoffs Game 4 Odds, Picks, Predictions: Rangers vs. Lightning Betting Preview article feature image
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Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Adam Fox (Rangers)

  • With a 2-1 lead in the NHL Eastern Conference Finals, the Rangers take on the Lightning in Game 4 from Tampa on Tuesday.
  • The Rangers have concerning injury issues while the Lightning's stars are finding their true form. But does that represent how you should bet this game?
  • Carol Schram breaks down her bold selection.

Rangers vs. Lightning Game 4 Odds

Rangers Odds +145
Lightning Odds -175
Over/Under 5.5 (+105/-125)
Time 8 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.

We’ve got a series in the Sunshine State.

The Tampa Bay Lightning announced that they will not be surrendering their Stanley Cup title easily on Sunday, erasing a 2-0 deficit on home ice to beat the New York Rangers 3-2 in Game 3 of the NHL’s 2022 Eastern Conference Finals.

The oddsmakers have taken note, and made the Lightning heavy favorites to win Game 4 and even the series.

Does that create value on the other side? Here’s the latest on both teams, and your best bet for Tuesday’s contest.

Rangers’ Injury Issues To Cause Impact?

Injuries down the middle are suddenly an issue for the Rangers. In Game 3, they lost second-line center Ryan Strome and saw Barclay Goodrow visibly hobbled after blocking a shot off his ankle — basically the same spot where he suffered an injury that kept him out for 11 games earlier in the playoffs.

Strome returned for just one shift after he went to the dressing room. Goodrow gutted it out and finished the game.

After an optional practice on Monday, Rangers coach Gerard Gallant expressed hope that both players would be in the lineup for Game 4. Of course, that could still change prior to puck drop.

If they can dress, it’s unknown how effective they’d be. And if one or both are out, that’s a big blow to New York’s center depth. But as Gallant pointed out, by this stage of the playoffs, almost everyone is playing through something.

If Strome or Goodrow can’t go, Kevin Rooney would likely be the next man up. He logged two assists and averaged 12:31 of ice time in the Rangers’ first 12 playoff games, but was bumped to the press box when Goodrow returned.

The Rangers can ill afford to lose center depth at this stage of the series. Even with their comfortable 6-2 win in Game 1, they’re controlling just 38.85% of expected goals at 5-on-5 through the first three games of the series, despite some good luck that has given them a 1.089 PDO rating.

Two areas do favor the Rangers: goaltending and special teams.

With his 49-save performance on Sunday, Igor Shesterkin now boasts a .930 save percentage in the playoffs and a league-high 17 goals saved above expected. And New York’s power-play rate of 31.4% is the best in the playoffs, led by six goals with the man advantage from Mika Zibanejad.

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Lightning’s Stars Shining Bright

The Lightning logged their first back-to-back playoff losses since 2019 earlier in this series, but they’re not ready to be counted out. They’ve won the 5-on-5 possession game right from Game 1. And they’ve increased their dominance in each successive outing, reaching a 68.53% expected goals share in Game 3 on Sunday.

Andrei Vasilevskiy is also sharpening up after his long nine-day layoff. History shows that as the stakes get higher in the playoffs, so does his level of play.

The Lightning’s star skaters were also able to make big contributions in Game 3. Ondrej Palat had a last-minute 5-on-5 dagger, Nikita Kucherov logged a goal and two assists, and Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman collected two points each.

And while the Rangers have the best power play in the postseason, the Lightning have been more efficient so far in the series. Both teams have three goals, but New York’s have come on 11 chances (27.3%) while Tampa Bay’s have come on just eight tries (37.5%).

With key center Brayden Point sidelined since Game 7 of Round 1, Lightning coach Jon Cooper has elected to use 11 forwards and seven defensemen at times. On Sunday, he went back to the more typical 12-and-6 formation, as Riley Nash saw his first postseason action, playing 5:29.

Point is back on skates, but he’s working out away from the main group, and has been officially ruled out for Game 4.

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Rangers vs. Lightning Pick

It’s tough to bet against the defending Stanley Cup Champions. They have demonstrated so much resilience and will to win over the last two years, and those qualities were on display again on Sunday.

But even with their 5-on-5 dominance, they were also 41 seconds away from going to overtime against the Rangers, where anything could have happened. And up to this point, Shesterkin still holds the upper hand in this elite goaltending battle.

The Lightning could absolutely win on Tuesday. But with an implied win probability of nearly 64% based on their moneyline of -175, there isn’t much incentive for bettors to back the home side.

The under of 5.5 has hit in the last two games — and seems likely in an important Game 4 — but a -125 line also isn’t especially appealing.

Instead, consider the fact that despite being wildly outplayed, the Rangers came this close to stealing a win on Sunday. They could be right there again in Game 4.

At +145 on the moneyline, that’s a bold bet that could offer very good value if the Blueshirts get a Grade-A goaltending performance.

Pick: Rangers ML (+145)

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