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NHL Picks: June 07

By Michael Harty

Ondrej Palat scored with 45 seconds left in the third period to give the defending Stanley Cup Champions a much-needed win. The Tampa Bay Lightning fired 51 shots against soon-to-be Vezina winner Igor Shesterkin. After two rather shocking results in New York, the Lightning finally looked like the team that has won 10 straight playoff series. They will need a similar effort to head back to the Big Apple with the series tied at 2.

The New York Rangers have made a major statement through 3 games in this series. Many doubters (myself included) who believed this team had been gifted a path to the Eastern Conference Final are being forced to eat their words (also me). Despite having faced backup goaltenders up until now, they have gotten to All-World Andrei Vasilevsky early and often throughout this series. It’s normally no small task to make Vasilevsky look pedestrian in the playoffs, but Zibinijad, Kreider and Panarin have done just that. Vasilevsky’s insane record following a loss was broken by these same Rangers that many people (again, also me) didn’t think had what it took to make it out of the first round. 

The usual suspects were involved in the Lightning win as they got goals from Kucherov, Stamkos and Palat. Kucherov, who finished the game with 3 points and 5 shots on goal, was all over the ice from the start of the game. Registering 10 shot attempts, he has been even more of a focal point for this Lightning team without Brayden Point. Displaying positive Corsi and Fenwick metrics across the board, look for coach Cooper to again put his star forward in advantageous matchups.

While I do think Tampa Bay wins, I personally don’t see any value in laying -160 plus in a series that I think has been played much closer than the odds seem to indicate. My last pick was a player prop that lost within 37 seconds, given the Kadri injury, but I’ll be going back to another one for this pick. If Tampa Bay is going to be successful, I believe it will once again be on the shoulders of Nikita Kucherov.

RECOMMENDED WAGER: Nikita Kucherov OVER 3.5 Shots (+130) at bet365

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