Can the Lightning take a commanding 3-1 series lead with a win on home ice? Take some time to read this insightful piece that culminates with a money line NHL pick.
NHL Eastern Conference Finals Game 4
The Tampa Bay Lightning will host the New York Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday at 8:05 PM ET. According to the NHL betting odds at 5Dimes, Tampa Bay is a -125 money line favorite, and the posted total is 5.0. The Lightning currently holds a 2-1 series lead.
Entertaining Games 2 and 3
The low scoring games that both of these teams have played for a better part of these playoffs has certainly taken a turn. The teams have combined to score 19 goals during Games 2 and 3 of this series. Although the 6-2 win by Tampa Bay in Game 2 doesn’t lend itself to be an exciting game, there surely was plenty of offensive entertainment provided regardless. We may have witnessed the most exciting game of the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs thus far, during the Lightning’s thrilling 6-5 overtime win in Game 3 on Wednesday. Both teams were able overcame two goal deficits, and the Rangers scored the tying goal with less than two minutes to play in regulation time.
The New York Rangers have lacked disciplined in each of the previous two games, and both contests resulted in defeat. For starters, they allowed six goals in each of those games. Prior to that, the Rangers had allowed more than five goals in a game just once since 10/14/2014. Henrik Lundquist has really struggled in the last two games, allowing 12 goals on 66 shots, and compiling a horrible .818 save percentage during those outings. On some positive notes, the Rangers have gone an encouraging 4-for-9 on the power play during the previous two games, and have been the best road team in the NHL this season with a 31-16 record.
Rampant Lightning Strikes
The Tampa Bay Lightning has proven over the last two games why they were the highest scoring team in the NHL this season. They’ve made an extremely good defensive opponent (Rangers) look porous to say the least in those outings. Their overall team speed has given the Rangers fits, and they’ve gone a blistering hot 5-for-12 (41.7%) on the power play during the Eastern Conference Finals. The Lightning has been the best home team in the NHL this season with a current record of 37-12. However, they’ve gone just 5-3 during the playoffs on home ice.
I look for Henrik Lundquist to bounce back with one of his vintage performances which has made him one of the premier goaltenders in the world. The Rangers have been embarrassed by their last two performances, and especially in regard to its defensive play. There’s just too much character on the Rangers roster to expect anything less than a superb effort on Friday. I’m siding with the road underdog for one of my NHL picks.
NHL Pick: Play the Rangers +120 on the money line over Tampa Bay at 5Dimes.