- The New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning will contest the Eastern Conference Finals in the National Hockey League (NHL).
- The winner of the Rangers vs. Lightning series will face the Western Conference champion in the Stanley Cup Finals.
- The series begins on Wednesday, June 1 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.
The National Hockey League (NHL) is down to their ‘Final Four’ on the road to the Stanley Cup Championship. Out West, the Colorado Avalanche are facing the Edmonton Oilers while in the East it’s the defending champion Tampa Bay Lighting against the upstart New York Rangers. The Lightning are trying to ‘threepeat’ and become the first team to win three straight Stanley Cup championships since the New York Islanders won four straight in 1980 through 1983.
Neither team has had an easy road to the conference finals. The Lightning swept the Florida Panthers in the conference semifinals but before that faced the Toronto Maple Leafs winning in 7 games. The Bolts and Leafs split decisive wins in the first four games but the final three games of the series were each determined by a single goal with Game 6 going to overtime. Only in the NHL will you see a first round series involving teams as good as Tampa Bay and Toronto. Toronto finished the regular season with a 54-21-7 record for 115 points, Tampa went 51-23-8 for 110 points. Toronto had the second highest goals per game in the NHL during the regular season putting up 3.80 a contest, Tampa Bay had 3.48 goals per game. It’s really not possible to overstate just how evenly matched this series was.
The road to the Eastern Conference Finals couldn’t have been more difficult for the New York Rangers. Literally. They’re entering the matchup with Tampa Bay off of back-to-back seven game series. In the first round, the Rangers lost Game 1 to the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in 3 OT and would eventually find themselves in a 3-1 hole before winning the next three including an overtime game 7. In the next round, the Rangers went down 2-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes but tied the series winning the next two games at Madison Square Garden. The home team would win the first six games before the Rangers broke through with a big Game 7 win on the ‘canes home ice. The Rangers have been led this year by goaltender Igor Shesterkin who led the NHL during the regular season with a 2.07 GAA.
NHL EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS SERIES ODDS
The NHL Eastern Conference Finals betting odds are in a much tighter range than their Western counterparts both for Game 1 and the overall series. At most books, Tampa Bay is in the -175 to -185 range to win the series and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. The outliers are FanDuel (-190), Circa (-167), SI Sportsbook (-200), 888Sports (-200), CoolBet (-192) and Bet99 (-186). Bettors in Iowa, Nevada or Colorado who like the Bolts should be jumping on that -167 series price at Circa.
Takeback on the Rangers is also in a tight range with most books between +150 and +160. The exceptions are Circa (+146), Wynn (+145), Pointsbet (+145) and Bet99 (+148). Best price on New York is +160 which at the time of this writing can be found at FanDuel, Superbook Colorado, SI Sportsbook, 888Sports and Coolbet.
NHL EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS GAME ONE ODDS
Tampa Bay is priced in a range between -125 to -135 at almost every sportsbook we checked in preparation for this article–over 35 in Colorado, Ontario and offshore. The only exceptions are Circa (-124), Superbook (-124) and CoolBet (-123). Takeback on the Rangers is in a range between +105 and +115 at *every* book we checked except one–the only exception is Tipico which has the Rangers +102. The best price in the marketplace at the time this article was posted is +115 at BetOnline.ag, with +114 available at BetRivers and Superbook in Colorado.
New York +1.5 is priced in a range between -235 and -250 up and down the board. The only sportsbooks outside of that range are PointsBet, WynnBET and BetFred at -255. Best price on the Rangers puckline is -235 at BetRivers, TwinSpires and at the SkyUte tribal property in Colorado (and on their mobile app which is available statewide).
Tampa Bay -1.5 is primarily found in a range between +185 and +200. The only sportsbook below this range is Tipico (+180). Above this range are BetOnline (+205), Monarch (+210), Circa (+203), Caesars (+205), Superbook (+215), Wynn (+205), PointsBet (+205) and Maverick (+210).
The total for this matchup is pretty cut and dried at O/U 5.5. Canada’s Coolbet had 6 as their ‘main total’ but also offer alternate totals including 5.5. The OV 5.5 is priced between -105 and -110 everywhere on the board except FoxBet (-111). The UN 5.5 is between -110 and -115 with a few exceptions: BetOnline (-103), SI Sportsbook (-118) and 888Sports (-118). SI Sportsbook is powered by 888’s technology platform and they often–but not always–have the same price. The 6 total at Coolbet is priced at OV +122 and UN -143. With the exception of Coolbet, the best price in the market is OV -105 (DraftKings, Circa, Betway and 888Sports) and UN -103 at BetOnline.ag.