NHL FREE PICKS
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NHL Picks: June1
Who had the Rangers and Lightning in the Eastern Conference final? Believe it or not I did, but I had New York beating Boston in the second round and not Carolina. Let’s just say the goaltending problems I thought the Hurricanes would have came one series too late for me. While we will see goals galore in the Oilers-Avalanche series. I think goals will be at a premium in this series with arguably the best two goalies in the NHL facing one another. Igor Shesterkin has regained his Vezina-worthy form. He was terrible in the first four games of the Pittsburgh series, but he has bounced back and is a big reason why the Rangers are where they are. We all know what Andrei Vasilevskiy can do. The matchups in this series are great. Fox vs Hedman, Zibenajad vs Stamkos, Kreider vs Kucherov and of course the goaltending matchup.
Tampa showed us in the second round that they are not going to hand over the Stanley Cup without a fight. This Rangers team while talented may not quite be to that championship level yet, but they are close. Do they have what it takes to knock off the two-time champs. I don’t think they do at this time, but if they do it will likely be because Shesterkin outperforms Vasilevskiy and that will not be easy, particularly at this time of year.
A nine-day rest after sweeping Florida will mean Tampa will have to shake off some rink rust while the Rangers just keep on going after their hard-fought seven game win over the Hurricanes. I am not sure how Game 1 will play itself out, but I do know there shouldn’t be many goals. The over/under scares me in the playoffs because of empty-netters and coaches pulling their goalies with a little more time on the clock than what we would normally see. I see a lot of 3-2 or 4-2 games in this series and that might be too generous considering the two goaltenders. With that being said, I am taking the Lightning to win the series seeing New York won’t be facing guys like Louis Domingue, Casey DeSmith, Antti Raanta and Pyotr Kochetkov. While I like Tampa to win what I think should be a long series, I am going to roll the dice and throw my money down on the Rangers to take Game 1 in what will be a low-scoring affair simply because I think a nine-day break means the Lightning won't be on the top of their game.
PICK: New York Rangers at +122 on Sports Interaction
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