The New York Rangers will host the Tampa Bay Lightning Thursday night, June 9, at Madison Square Garden in Game 5 of the NHL Eastern Conference Finals. The series is deadlocked at 2-2, and Caesars New York has a sports betting deal that’s hard to pass up.
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In the historic NHL playoffs that were tied 2-2, the Game 5 winner won the series 82% of the time. For the Rangers, this is the biggest game the franchise has faced since Game 7 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals, which was a loss to the Lightning.
The Rangers are two wins away from reaching the Stanley Cup Finals, after going +2,500 to win the Stanley Cup in the preseason, according to Caesars Sportsbook.
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Game 5 odds: Lightning at Rangers, June 9
Although they were able to play Game 5 on their home ice, the New York Rangers are Tampa Bay’s underdogs. The Lightning were also small favorites in Games 1 and 2 at Madison Square Garden, although the Rangers won both games.
Game 5 will be broadcast live on ESPN and on ESPN Radio.
Rangers Vs. Lightning 5 Game Preview
To paraphrase Mark Twain: Reports of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s death were greatly exaggerated. After slipping down a 2-0 hole, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions returned to this series, forcing a swing game at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.
Rangers are the underdogs at home, despite the home sides having been successful this post-season. Rangers haven’t lost a game at the Garden since Game 1 of the playoffs. The old building is expected to be noisy on Thursday night, with the home side having a chance to take the lead in this series.
It could be the “Kid Line” that holds the key to Game 5 and the balance of this series: Kaapo Kakko, Alexis Lafrenière and Filip Chytil — all 22 and under. This line will need to handle the puck with confidence against a veteran Lightning line. An early lead could be crucial.
The Lightning were forced to change their lines due to injuries and inconsistent play, but barely a beat was missed. Tampa Bay is two wins away from returning to the Stanley Cup Finals for a third straight season. The team riddled the Rangers with 50 shots in Game 4, but in New York on Thursday it should be a tighter game with fewer pucks going into the slot. A low-scoring affair would be a headache for both coaches.
Rangers will retain their home serve but the game will remain under the 5.5 goal mark.
AP Photo/Chris O’Meara