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NHL Picks: June 05

By Ryan Nadrajan

The Tampa Bay Lightning find themselves down 2-0 against the New York Rangers. After falling short on the road, the defending back-to-back Stanley Cup champions look to defend their home ice this afternoon. The Rangers have now won five straight against the Lightning this season with an aggregate score of 19-8. Could Igor Shesterkin have the Bolts number? Is Tampa Bay tapped out after the run they had? Is Gerard Gallant simply out coaching Jon Cooper? Game 3 will give us all the answers. 

Igor Shesterkin has been playing sensational for the Rangers thus far. The Hart Trophy finalist and probable Vezina Trophy winner has posted a 2.00 GAA and .949 SV% in the series. On the other end of the ice, Andrei Vasilevskiy who I believe is the best goaltender in the world, has looked somewhat human in the two games against the Rangers. He carries a 4.60 GAA and .855 SV% heading into game 3. 

Perhaps the nine day rest period after sweeping the Florida Panthers may have snake-bitten the offense of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Whatever is causing the staleness can’t continue any longer. The injury to forward Brayden Point is seemingly weighing heavy on the team. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov won’t be able to do all the heavy lifting and will need some other players to chip in. Alex Killorn has been a ghost this postseason, with only 4A throughout 13 games. They will need him to step up today and get the monkey off his back.

The Rangers may have gotten the better of the Lightning at the Amalie Arena during the regular season, but doing it in the playoffs is a different level of difficulty. The Lightning are 10-1 in their last 11 home playoff games. This group is chasing history and I can’t overlook everything they have accomplished to let the Rangers get the better of them at home. I think Andrei Vasilevskiy bounces back and the Tampa Bay Lightning takes a close one to cut the series lead in half. 

Pick: Tampa Bay Lightning ML -166 (Bet99)

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