NHL Picks of the Day: Rangers ML -135 Offer Great Value vs. Lightning in Saturday's Series Opener

Joe Catalano

Saturday, May 16, 2015 12:22 PM GMT

After just 2 minutes away from facing elimination against the Washington Capitals, the Rangers have pulled off a miraculous comeback and are ready for the next step. 

Face-off is set for 1:00 p.m. ET on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City. According to some NHL betting odds, the Rangers, the team with the best regular season record in the NHL, are a -135 betting favorite.

New York has to be coming into this series with a ton of confidence as they've been to the Stanley Cup last year and goalie, Henrik Lundqvist has simply been unstoppable, allowing a goal or less in each and every game. Can Lundqvist stop a Tampa Bay Lightning which has averaged 3.2 goals per game this season? This series is for the right to participate in the Stanley Cup Finals.

 

The King
Lundqvist has lived up to his name as Washington goalie, Braden Holtby, threw everything at the Rangers in his arsenal and it still wasn't enough. Alex Ovechkin, even went as far as to guarantee victory in game 7 of the 2nd round and it still wasn't enough as Lundqvist and the Rangers defeated the Capitals in overtime 2-1 to win the series in front of their home town fans. New York has never trailed by more than 1 goal in any game in the playoffs.

As for Lundqvist, he's 8-4 in the playoffs with a 1.60 GAA and a .944 SV%. He's playing at an elite level and I don't expect him to stop now. Carey Price was the best goalie in the regular season, but clearly, Lundqvist is the man that any team would want between the pipes in a big game. Expect the Rangers momentum to continue as they have home ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

 

Chris Kreider
Derick Brassard (5 goals and 3 assists) and Derrick Stepan (3 goals and 5 assists) have led the way for the Blueshirts while leading goal scorer Rick Nash has been somewhat silent, That said, Chris Kreider has been the star in the playoffs as he's the player that came up with the clutch game tying goal in game 5 against Washington and then came back in game 6 with 2 more goals. He's definitely a wild-card as we know what to expect from mostly everyone else. In order for the Rangers to keep pace with the Lightning, Nash must revert back to his regular season form and Kreider will need to keep coming up big. This series will definitely be a higher scoring series than the previous one against the Caps.

 

Well-Rested
After an easy 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadians in game 6, Tampa Bay has had a chance to rest and defeating a team with Carey Price in net is an amazing feat. They also, should have a tremendous amount of confidence coming into Madison Square Garden.

I've always considered Steven Stamkos to be the go to guy on this hockey squad, but in the playoffs, Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, and Nikita Kucherov all have 10 points or more. Johnson is definitely the player to keep an eye on in this game. Just as he dominated Montreal, he's faired well against the Rangers also. In just 3 games, he's had 2 goals and 4 assists against the Blueshirts.

If there was one team to shake up Lundqvist, it would be the offensive-minded Lightning, but the Rangers are coming off such a high and are playing at home, I'm going to make them my NHL picks in game 1.

NHL Pick: New York Rangers -135 at 5Dimes

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