The New York Rangers fly high to face the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Finals playoff series. New York leads the series 2-0. Puck drop from Amalie Arena is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET (ESPN). Below, we look at the Rangers vs. Lightning Game 3 odds and lines, and make our expert NHL picks, predictions and bets.
The Rangers have put on two clinics to jump out 2-0 in the series. They pushed the tempo offensively to score 6 goals in Game 1 and they locked it down defensively to finesse a 3-2 victory in Game 2. C Mika Zibanejad scored the game-winning goal Friday to extend his points streak to 7 games.
The Lightning scored within the first 3 minutes of Game 2, but they didn’t score again until the final 3 minutes of the game. This was the first time Tampa has lost consecutive postseason games in the last three postseasons. They did make a late push to make it 3-2 with an extra attacker on the ice but Rangers G Igor Shesterkin was fantastic in the final 90 seconds of the game to seal the victory.
Rangers at Lightning odds and lines
Odds provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated at 9:43 a.m. ET.
Money line: Rangers +135 (bet $100 to win $135) | Lightning -170 (bet $170 to win $100)
Against the spread (ATS): Rangers +1.5 (-190) | Lightning -1.5 (+145)
Over/Under (O/U): 5.5 (O: +105 | U: -130)
Rangers at Lightning projected goalies
Igor Shesterkin (10-5, 2.60 GAA, .929 SV% – playoffs) vs. Andrei Vasilevskiy (8-5, 2.58 GAA, .921 SV%, 1 SO – playoffs)
Shesterkin was awesome in the final 2 minutes of Game 2 as he made several tumbling saves to keep the Rangers ahead. He had 29 saves on 31 shots in the game and has allowed more than 2 goals once in his last 9 games. The road to the Cup goes through him, and it’ll be an uphill climb.
Vassy made 25 saves on 28 shots in Game 2, and he just hasn’t been as sharp after a 9-day layoff. The team in front of him hasn’t either. Vasilevskiy was 20-8-4 with a 2.23 GAA and .921 SV% at home during the regular season and he has been even better at home in the playoffs at 4-1 with a 1.90 GAA and .943 SV%.
Rangers at Lightning picks and predictions
Lightning 4, Rangers 3
Things tightened up in Game 2, but Tampa didn’t have enough offense to break through. They are really tough to beat at home, and C Steven Stamkos felt like the momentum from the offensive pressure they put on in the final 2 minutes of Game 2 should carry over. We do, too. Tampa wins a close one to get back in the series. It’s very chalky, but we’ll take the LIGHTNING (-170).
Against the spread
One of our props hit in Game 2 as the Lightning scored first, but they didn’t quite make it over 2.5 goals. They will have to score 3 or more to win. I’m not a fan of either puck line as Tampa has yet to show up offensively. There is a special boosted odds mini-parlay I do like: A Storm is Coming: LIGHTNING TO WIN FIRST PERIOD AND THE MATCH (+200).
The Over cashed in Game 1, and the Under took care of business in Game 2. The Over has cashed once in the last 7 games for Tampa. The Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings between these teams in Tampa. The Rangers are rolling offensively, and Tampa is desperate. This feels like an Over game. LEAN OVER 5.5 (+105).
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