NHL Picks: Look For Lightning To Pick Up A Solid Home Win Over Rangers

Bruce Webster

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 1:30 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015 1:30 PM UTC

The New York Rangers visit the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. Join us as we break down the NHL odds for this game and find the best NHL picks.

New York Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Lines: Tampa Bay -130/NY Rangers +118
Total: 5
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Free NHL Pick: Tampa Bay
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline


The NHL odds are out for tonight's game as the New York Rangers (20-13-2-2 SU, 17-20 PL, 16-16-5 OU) come in off a 5-3 road loss to the Nashville Predators, which was their 4th loss in their last five games, while the Tampa Bay Lightning (18-15-1-3 SU, 15-22 PL, 13-19-5 OU) are off a tough 4-3 home loss to the Canadiens in a shootout, which was their third loss in their last five games, The road team is 4-1 the last five in the series.


Struggles in Goal Continue in Loss to the Preds
The New York Rangers are sliding and are looking nothing like last year’s team that had the most points in the NHL. The Rangers come in having gone just 2-7 in their last nine games and a big reason for their slide has been the play in the crease as they have allowed a whopping 4.44 gpg over that stretch. That 1.85 gpg more than their seasonal average of 2.59 gpg allowed, which is 17th in the league. In their latest loss, they allowed five goals to a Nashville team that has had their scoring woes of late. Henrik Lundqvist took the loss in that game and has now allowed four or more goal in five of his last seven starts. He should get the start here and is now 16-13 o the year with a 2.51 GAA, while vs the Lightning in his career he is 17-19 with a 2.40 GAA. 

The offense hasn’t really been an issue for the Rangers this year as they come in ranked 6th in the league in scoring, putting up 2.9 gpg, while converting on 21.4% of their power play chances, which is 6th in the league. In their last eight games they have put up 3.25 gpg, so it is clearly not the offenses fault for their recent slide. Scoring vs the Preds were Jesper Fast (6th), Rick Nash (11th) and J.T. Miller (8th). The offense has remained the same for the Rangers, but one has to wonder if there is something wrong with Lundqvist, who is struggling mightily at the moment.


Lightning Let One Get Away vs Hapless Habs
On monday night the Tampa Bay Lightning go a visit from Montreal team that had lost six in a row and 10 of their last 11 and they held a lead in the game, but the Habs got a goal with just 5:36 left in regulation to tie the game. Montreal then won it in a shootout. Tampa Bay had entered the 3rd period down 2-1 and then took the 3-2 lead before letting the game slip away. Scoring for the Lightning were Nikita Kucherov (13th), Jason Garrison (4th) and Ryan Callahan (5th), while Valtteri Filppula had two assists. Those are always tough losses to swallow, especially vs teams that have been struggling to win.

Taking the loss vs the Canadiens was Ben Bishop, who has been on a win one, lose one stretch of late. Bishop is now 15-14 on the year with a solid 2.03 GAA. He should get the start here as well and is 9-8 with a 1.99 GAA at home, while vs the Rangers in his career he has gone a perfect 9-0 with a 1.43 GAA. The Lightning check in at 19th in the league in scoring putting up just 2,5 gpg, while converting on 18.5% of their power play chances, which is 16th. The defense for the Bolts has been solid, ranking 4th in goals allowed, giving up just 2.3 gpg, but they have allowed teams to convert on 21.8% of their power play chances, which is 25th in the league.


Trends for New York Rangers:
3-9 their last 12 in the series
1-4 in their last five games playing on one day’s rest


Trends for Tampa Bay Lightning:
12-3 in their last 15 Wednesday games
14-6 in their last 20 home games vs. a team with a road winning percentage of less than .400


Betting Analysis
The Rangers are slumping and they have lost their last 8 road games, so it is unlikely that they will turn it around vs Ben Bishop, who they have never beaten. Bishop is 9-0 with a 1.43 GAA and the Rangers have shown nothing of late that says they can turn that around. Their offense is solid, but their defense is horrible right now as all the shots that Lundqvist has faced this year may be finally taking its toll. Look for the Bolts to pick up a solid home win here for your NHL picks.

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