The New York Rangers will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in a rematch of 2015. The Rangers were 3-0 against the Lightning during the regular season. A trip to the Stanley Cup Finals will go to the winner. This series will showcase some of the most talented goaltending in the league and feature many superstars. Check out the best new sportsbook for betting on this series.
Igor Shesterkin and Andrei Vasilevskiy have been regarded as the best goalies in today’s game. Vasilevskiy has carved a name for himself, and his playoff play is a testament to that. Shesterkin is the older of the two, but he has been the backbone of the Rangers team. This is the goaltending version of Connor McDavid vs Nathan MacKinnon.
Shesterkin performed admirably in the Second Round. He had a.953 save rate and a 1.72 goals-against average. According to money Puck, he has 11.4 goals saved, more than expected. He has been ranked among the top playoff players.
His opponent has been a shining star in the playoffs. Vasilevskiy is currently 8-3 in the playoffs with 2.22 goals per game average, and a.932 save rate. Vasilevskiy had a perfect record of 4-0 in the Second Round. He never allowed more than one goal in a game in the second-round series against the Florida Panthers. Vasilevskiy had 0.75 goals against the average, and a.981 save rate. Shesterkin is second with 11.0 goals saved, just behind the Lightning goaltender.
These two are the best of both worlds, and it will be a lot of fun to see them go head-to-head.
The man advantage has unlimited firepower, with Nikita Kucherov and Mika Zibanejad and Steven Stamkos and Steven Fox. This series will determine whether the level of play is based on the man’s advantage or down. Whichever team can play more in open ice will have the advantage.
The powerplay is still the bread and butter of the New York Rangers. The Rangers were 7/21 with the man edge in the Second Round. This helped them win Game 7 against Carolina. Zibanejad is the team leader with 19 points and eight on the power play. The Rangers’ powerplay unit has a success rate of 32.5% in their Second Round matchup. Carolina was crushed by the penalty kill, going 2/16 on the power play throughout the series.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are home to some of the most potent firepower in the league. With a success rate of 22%, Lightning is the 8th-best powerplay unit. Kucherov and Victor Hedman lead the scoring with seven each. The Lightning’s penalty kill against the Rangers’ power play could be a factor. With an 87.6% success ratio, Lightning is the third-best penalty-killing unit. Check out the best bookmakers for betting on the NHL!
This series is a repeat of 2015. The Lightning won the series with a score of 4-3 and advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Rangers will seek revenge and avoid the same fate.
The teams are vastly different. While the core players of each team remain, there are many new faces on both teams. The men behind the pipes are different. Former Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh will now be on the Lightning.
Both players and fans know what the outcome was for the 2015 series. The question is whether history repeats itself or if a new winner emerges.
The Rangers will win this with home-ice advantage and toughness. That toughness got them here, and even though the Lightning is solid favorites, I look for the Rangers to pull the upset in a great series.
Prediction: Rangers defeat Lightning in 7
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