After sweeping the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Florida Panthers last week, the Tampa Bay Lightning will enter the Stanley Cup Semifinals well-rested. However, the New York Rangers will only be two days removed from their Game 7 win over the Carolina Hurricanes when the Lightning come to town Wednesday.
Here are two game prop bets to consider for Wednesday’s matchup.
First Team to Reach Three Goals: Neither (+300)
The Rangers and Lightning are third and fourth in goals per game of the four remaining teams in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Both teams are scoring above three goals a game, but this series will feature two of the hottest goalies in the NHL.
Andrei Vasilevskiy made short work of the Florida Panthers, allowing only three goals in the Lightning’s second-round sweep of the Panthers. Vasilevskiy leads all remaining goalies with a .932 save percentage and a 2.22 goals-against average. Over his past four games, he has a ridiculous .981 SV% and a 0.75 GAA.
At the other end of the ice is the Vezina Trophy favorite Igor Shesterkin. Shesterkin is second with a .928 SV% in the postseason and has an impressive 2.69 GAA.
Neither goaltender has a GAA above three, and both are locked in right now. There is sure to be a feeling-out process in Game 1, so there is value at +300 for neither team to score three goals.
Barclay Goodrow won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Lightning, so he's familiar with Andrei Vasilevskiy. Who is better, his former goalie or Igor Shesterkin?
"I'll take Shesty all day" pic.twitter.com/jvduRqWem1
— Rangers Videos (@SNYRangers) May 31, 2022
Period With Most Goals Scored: Third Period (+120)
The third period has been Tampa Bay’s best period in these playoffs but not New York’s. However, the Rangers still rank in the top six in third-period scoring.
In 25 combined games, the Rangers and Lightning have totaled 26 goals, which is lower than their 30 second-period goals and slightly higher than their 24 first-period goals. The thinking behind backing the third period as the frame with the most scoring stems from a couple of assumptions.
The Rangers early scoring should be muted in Game 1 due to their lack of rest. New York will only be two days removed from their grueling seven-game series with the Hurricanes, while the Lightning have been resting for over a week.
Tampa Bay has found most of its success late in games and both of these teams will be contending with hot goaltenders. If the score is close at the end of the game, expect the losing team to pull their goalie. An opportunity for a third-period empty-net goal gives this wager at +120 a slight edge.