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The Tampa Bay Lightning are on a three-game winning streak.
The New York Rangers are 3-1-1 in their last five games.
The Rangers are 1-0-1 against the Lightning last season.
Odds Taken from FanDuel Sportsbook.
Tampa Bay Lightning
New York Rangers
45-26-6 (3rd in Atlantic Division)
45-21-11 (3rd in Metropolitan Division)
Nikita Kucherov (106)
Artemi Panarin (87)
Brayden Point (48)
Mika Zibanejad (39)
Nikita Kucherov (77)
Artemi Panarin (62)
Nick Petrix (21)
Adam Fox (28)
Nikita Kucherov (3.30)
Shots (Per Game)
Mika Zibanejad (3.10)
The Tampa Bay Lightning will travel to Madison Square Garden to face the New York Rangers for the third and final time this season. The Rangers beat the Lightning 3-1 in their season opener, but the Lightning struck back 2-1 in a shootout win in late December.
Both of these teams have clinched Playoff spots but are hoping to improve their seeding as they enter the Playoffs. The Lightning have 96 points and are in third place in the Atlantic Division. However, they are four points out of second place and fighting to move up in their final four games. The Rangers are in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 101 points. They are only three points away from the New Jersey Devils and trying to overtake their spot.
The Lightning are unsurprisingly having another strong season. Tampa has done an excellent job of maintaining their core pieces, which has led to them to the Playoffs once more this season. Offensively, they are in the top ten and average nearly 3.5 goals a game. They have been on a scoring tear in their previous three games and scored 14 combined goals. Defensively, they are closer to the middle but still allow less than three goals per game. The Lightning are well-rounded and have a great chance of winning another Stanley Cup this season.
The Lightning are led by Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman. Hedman is a defenseman and does not produce as much on the offensive end, but Kucherov, Point, and Stamkos all have at least 80 points and 29 goals.
The Lightning have not announced their starting netminder, but I would bet it will be Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy has been a workhorse for the Lightning and has an impressive 33 wins.
The Rangers made some big Trade Deadline moves and are seeing strong improvement as a result. Offensively, they are averaging nearly four goals per game, putting them right outside of the top ten. Defensively, they are even better and allow less than 2.7 goals per game. The Rangers have the third-best offense in the NHL, which will be key to them making a Playoff run.
The Rangers are led by Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Adam Fox, and Vincent Trochek. These four are killers on the ice and all have at least 61 points and 41 assists.
Igor Shesterkin will likely get the start in the net for the Rangers. Shesterkin, like Vasilevskiy, has been a workhorse this season. His 35 wins are tied for the second-most in the NHL.
The Rangers are playing at home and coming off a 5-2 win. This game will be close, but the Rangers will emerge victorious. Bet on New York to win.
The Lightning are the underdogs but will win if they draw penalties and play strong defense.
The Lightning have a top-five power play unit and convert over 25% of their opportunities. This unit has been vital to the Lightning’s success this season and will be vital to their success today. Tampa must draw penalties and get this unit on the ice.
The Lightning have a solid group of defensemen, but the Rangers have a better group. They must match the Rangers’ strong defense and can do so by playing aggressively early on.
The Rangers are the favorites but can improve their chances by scoring first and passing to Artemi Panarin.
These teams are pretty evenly matched, and the Rangers will need to find any competitive edge over them. They can get the upper hand if they score first. If New York scores first, their home crowd will be more on their side, and the fans will cheer louder for them.
Artemi Panarin is one of the best players (if not the best player on the Rangers). The winger leads the team with 87 points and is coming off a three-assist game against the Washington Capitals. Not only is Panarin a great overall player, but he also has momentum. His teammates must pass him the puck and let him work his magic.
Brayden Point is an efficient scorer and comes into this game with 89 points (48 goals, 41 assists). The 27-year-old is coming off a one-goal, two-assist game against the New York Islanders. Point must lead this team to victory in this matchup.
K’Andre Miller is an odd pick, but I have a good reason for it. Miller is coming off a one-goal, one-assist game and earned the first star. He is feeling good and must take that feeling into this game.
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What: Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Rangers
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
When: Wednesday, April 5, 7:30 PM EST
How to Watch: TNT
Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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