Will the resilient Rangers once again be able to stave off elimination? We have those answers in addition to our money line NHL pick for this highly anticipated game 6.
NHL Eastern Conference Finals Game 6
The Lightning and Rangers will play Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Finals series on Tuesday in Tampa at 8:05 PM ET. According to the NHL betting odds at BetOnline, Tampa Bay is a -125 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.0. The Lightning has a 3-2 series lead by virtue of an impressive 2-0 win at Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday. These teams have seen six of their eight meetings go over the total this season, and Tampa Bay has won six of the eight.
Rangers Experience in Elimination Games
The only thing that’s been predictable in this series has been the unpredictability. Case in point was Game 5 of this series on Sunday. After turning in a dominating 5-1 road win in Game 4 to regain home ice advantage, the Rangers were flatter than a pancake in Sunday’s 2-0 loss. As a result, “The Blue Shirts” will now be facing elimination for the fourth time in these 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The good news is they’ve gone 3-0 in that scenario, overcoming a 3-1 series deficit against Washington during the Eastern Conference Semifinals. They’re also an outstanding 8-1 in elimination games during the last two playoff seasons.
Golden Opportunity for Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning have put themselves in a very favorable spot in this series, and can advance to their second ever Stanley Cup Final in franchise history with a win on Tuesday. The Lightning has gone an outstanding 37-13 on home ice this season which is best in the NHL. However, they’ve been beatable at home so far in these 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs by going just 5-4. On a positive note, they were in a similar scenario in Game 6 of their opening round series versus Montreal, and were able to eliminate the Canadiens with a dominating 4-1 home win.
The goaltending in this series has been erratic at times for both teams. A perfect example of this was in Sunday’s Game 5 which saw Ben Bishop turn away all 26 Rangers shots on goal, and earn his second shutout of the postseason. Prior to that performance, Bishop allowed ten goals on just 52 shots (.808) in Games 3 and 4. Henrik Lundquist has also had his rough moments in this series. During Games 2 and 3, Lundquist allowed twelve goals on 56 shots (.786) with both resulting in Rangers losses. Since then, the Rangers goaltender has compiled an excellent .951 save percentage in his last two starts. It’s a safe assumption to make, that whichever team receives the better goaltending from here on out will most likely advance.
Staying with the theme of unpredictability in this series, I like the Rangers to force a deciding Game 7 at Madison Square Garden. They have a plethora of experience during elimination games the last two playoff years, and have been extremely successful in those situations. The Rangers were the best road team in the NHL this season, and are 32-16 in that role heading into Game 6. I’m siding with the road team with their backs against the wall for one of my NHL picks.
NHL Pick: Play the New York Rangers +113 on the money line at BetOnline.