NHL Betting Guide: Thursday 6/9/22

Mika Zibanejad and the Rangers are slim home underdogs tonight. Should you bet on them to beat the Lightning?

The NHL season is drawing to a close, and last night's hockey-less schedule foreshadows the inevitable summer days that await. Nevertheless, the Colorado Avalanche are awaiting their Eastern Conference counterparts for the Stanley Cup Finals, with the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning resuming their series tonight at Madison Square Garden. The winner of tonight's game moves into the driver's seat, taking a 3-2 series lead into Game 6.

Our projections give the home team a substantive edge in tonight's contest!

New York Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Rangers moneyline (+108): 2-Star Rating Out of 5

The Rangers ran their postseason record on home ice up to 8-1 by taking Games 1 and 2 of this series. A lot of their success relies on Igor Shesterkin, who is stopping 94.8% of shots at home. The Russian netminder's high-danger save percentage at five-on-five of 92.2% is better than the overall save percentages for most teams, and it results in a 2.04 goals-against average.

Shesterkin deserves a lot of the credit, but we can't look past the offensive efforts from New York's top skill players. The Rangers are creating an average of 30.6 scoring chances and 12.1 high-danger chances per game, leading to an 11.9% shooting percentage.

The Lightning's road woes this postseason will make it hard for them to keep pace with the Rangers today. Tampa is 4-4 on the road in the playoffs but has posted a 45.9% Corsi rating at five-on-five. That's negatively impacting their ability to create offense, with the Bolts limited to nine or fewer high-danger chances in five of their eight road games. Moreover, their 7.9% shooting percentage as the visitors supports that their offense isn't the same when they're on the road.

Based on our projections, the Rangers should be favored in tonight's contest. New York has a 53.5% chance of winning, per our model, exceeding their implied probability as +108 underdogs. On that basis, we rate the Rangers moneyline as a two-star play.