NHL Playoffs 2022: Odds, Hot Takes, Top Storylines for June 5 Schedule
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The Tampa Bay Lightning enter Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final in a new scenario during their championship run.
Tampa Bay lost back-to-back postseason games for the first time since 2019 in Games 1 and 2 at Madison Square Garden.
The New York Rangers held serve on home ice and can play with less pressure in Game 3, but they can’t afford to let the two-time reigning Stanley Cup champions get back into the series with ease.
Tampa Bay outshot the Rangers by eight, but it managed just two goals in each contest against Igor Shesterkin.
Shesterkin got the best of his goalie battle with Andrei Vasilevskiy in New York, and he will be the key to New York taking a surprising 3-0 series lead.
Eastern Conference Final Game 3 Odds
Moneyline: Tampa Bay (-180; bet $180 to win $100); New York Rangers (+155; bet $100 to win $155)
Puck Line: Tampa Bay (-1.5; +150), New York (+1.5; -170)
Tampa Bay Should Find Footing in Series
Tampa Bay was within a goal of New York for most of Game 2 and for the first 30 minutes of Game 1.
New York’s largest advantage was gained through a four-goal flurry that started right over the halfway mark of the second period in Game 1.
The Lightning rebounded from that onslaught by scoring the opening tally in Game 2. They also scored the final tally in the contest to create a small bit of momentum going into Game 3.
Tampa Bay peppered the New York net for 31 shots in Game 2, but it could use more out of its star forwards.
Nikita Kucherov had a goal and an assist in Game 2, but he only put two shots on target. Steven Stamkos did not record a point and tested Shesterkin with three shots.
Tampa Bay needs Kucherov and Stamkos to be more active in front of the Rangers net. The Lightning need more out of those players since Brayden Point is out injured.
The early key for the Lightning could be to get on the power play in the opening 20 minutes. That worked in Game 2, as Kucherov scored two minutes and 41 seconds into Game 2.
The Lightning can match New York’s defensive output. Vasilevskiy and the defensemen in front of him played countless games at home in the postseason together.
Tampa Bay needs to feed off the home crowd and limit any early concessions to switch the series in its favor.
The Lightning may not be able to score an abundance of goals, but if they play solid defense and beat Shesterkin in key moments, they should get back into the series.
Shesterkin Makes Life Difficult on Tampa Attack
Shesterkin will be the reason why the Rangers come away with a Game 3 victory—if that happens.
The Russian netminder has made life difficult on the Tampa Bay offense through two games. He conceded four times on 70 shots.
Shesterkin played better than his fellow countryman, Vasilevskiy, who has been an integral part of Tampa Bay’s two Stanley Cup runs. Shesterkin conceded two tallies in each of his last four postseason games. He allowed more than two once in the last nine games.
Tampa Bay may not need an offensive explosion to beat the Rangers, but it has to find better ways to beat Shesterkin to avoid the Rangers taking all of the momentum in Game 3.
A three-goal total would be ideal for the Lightning to reach since Shesterkin is 3-6 in games in which opponents reach that mark in the postseason.
If the first two games are any indication of the series, Shesterkin will be a tough customer in net and will make scoring a frustrating issue for the Lightning.
Tampa Bay can win by scoring one or two goals, but in that situation, it leaves more room for the Rangers to steal a victory in Florida through a strong outing for Shesterkin.
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