Pick Home Victory in Lightning vs. Rangers

Joe Catalano

Monday, December 1, 2014 7:36 PM GMT

Monday, Dec. 1, 2014 7:36 PM GMT

The New York Rangers who are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games will face a huge test in the form of the Eastern Conference Atlantic Division leading Tampa Bay Lightning (16-6-2). Both of these teams are coming into this game on winning streaks. Can Henrik Lundvist handle the top team in the East is the question? Hers is your betting pick for this fantastic matchup.

Ice-time is scheduled for 7:00 pm ET tonight at Madison Square Garden, in New York City.

According to the odds makers, home ice does matter as the Rangers are a slight -110 betting favorite and NHL odds boards list the game's total at 5.5 goals.

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Starting Goalies
We always like to get confirmation of who's in net and at this point, it's a bit early, but it looks like it will be Ben Bishop for the Lightning and Henrik Lundvist for the Rangers.

The Rangers have been dominated by the Lightning twice this season, both games on the road, by a total of 9-4. Henrik "The King" Lundvist will look to turn the tables with a little support from the blue-seaters in the crow. Lundvist should be refreshed as he's coming off of a solid effort in a 5-2 win over Philadelphia in which he allowed just 2 goals in 23 shots on goal. It hasn't been his best start to a season (9-6-3, 2.57 GAA.) but Henrik Lundvist is widely considered the one if not the best goalie in the game over the last decade as he searches for that elusive Stanley Cup.

 

Dominance of Ben Bishop
The king is the king, but Bishop has bettered the king this season as he's off to fast start and is a major reason why the Lightning are in 1st place in the East.

Ben Bishop has been dominant against the blue shirts this season and is 14-3-2 overall with a 2.27 GAA. He might not face as many shots as goalies on inferior teams, but mostly everything that Ben Bishop sees, he swipes away and that will be a major problem for the New York Rangers.

Along with having one of the best goalies in the league, the Lightning rank 1st in goals at an amazing 3.5 goals per game while being 3rd in the NHL on the power play (24.4%).

 

Steven Stamkos
The Lightning are led by the aggressive play of center Steven Stamkos. Stamkos leads the team with 15 goals and 13 assists on the season. In his last 5 games, Stamkos has scored 3 goals and 3 assists and has logged a lot of ice time. The one noticeable stat regarding Stamkos is the games in which the Lightning have lost, Stamkos has not played well. Stamkos will be tested in this game as Lundvist is out for revenge.

Another player to keep an eye on is former Ranger Ryan Callahan. Callahan is having a great start to the season with 21 points in 19 games. He's flatout owned the Rangers with 4 goals and 1 assist in 2 games against the Rangers. If Callahan can light the lamp in this game and help the Lightning to a third consecutive win over the Rangers it will be very demoralizing for New York as the Rangers were a team that got to the Stanley Cup Finals last season.

 

Playing Up to Potential
When the Rangers first picked up Rick Nash, they thought he would be a goal scoring machine. For a while, New York seemed like a poor fit for Nash, but every since he became a father, Nash has lived up to expectations.

He leads the Rangers with 16 goals and 25 points in just 23 games. Nash has been able to put a ton of pressure on opposing goalies as his 80 shots on goal indicates. That is by far the most on the Rangers squad. Nash also had a streak of 4 games in a row with a goal until it was broken against Philadelphia. It didn't matter much as his mates picked up the slack and Nash chipped in with an assist. 

 

Outcome
The Rangers are too good a team to be beaten 3 consecutive times by the Lightning. Home ice will help and look for Henrik Lundvist to match Ben Bishop save for save.

NHL Pick- Rangers -110 at 5 Dimes

 

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