NHL Playoffs 2022: Odds, Hot Takes, Top Storylines for June 3 Schedule

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIJune 3, 2022

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 01: Tampa Bay Lightning Left Wing Alex Killorn (17) skates against New York Rangers Right Wing Kaapo Kakko (24) during game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers on June 1, 2022 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche have jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the Edmonton Oilers in the Western Conference Final. Now, it's the New York Rangers' turn to try to do the same in the East.

On Friday night, the Rangers will host the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final. New York cruised to a 6-2 victory in Game 1 on Wednesday, outscoring Tampa Bay 4-0 over the final 29 minutes and 51 seconds of the contest.

The Lightning, who are the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions, will look to even the series at 1-1 before it shifts to Tampa for Games 3 and 4.

Here's everything you need to know heading into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Friday Schedule, Odds

Game 2: Tampa Bay Lightning (-135; bet $135 to win $100) at New York Rangers (+115; bet $100 to win $115), 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

The Lightning Will Bounce Back, Remind Everybody They're Defending Champions

In Game 1, Tampa Bay didn't play the way it typically does this time of year. That started at goaltender with Andrei Vasilevskiy, who gave up six goals—more than he allowed during the entire four-game series against the Florida Panthers in the second round (three).

Steven Stamkos tied the game at 1-1 with a goal in the first period, while Ondrej Palat knotted it at 2-2 with a goal in the second. But the Lightning's offense went cold after that, especially in the third period when they couldn't get a puck in the net.

It wasn't the first off performance for Tampa Bay this postseason, though. In the first round, it lost 5-0 to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first game of that series. And the Lightning even trailed 3-2 before rallying to win Games 6 and 7 to advance.

Tampa Bay is no stranger to facing adversity. But this is the first time that New York is playing in the Eastern Conference Final since 2015 (when it lost in seven games to the Lightning), and that's going to show soon.

In fact, the Lightning are going to prove that Game 1 was an anomaly by coming back in a big way for Game 2.

"It's Game 1, we've been through this before," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said, per Vin A. Cherwoo of the Associated Press. "We've won series where we've lost the first game and we've won series where we've won the first game."

The Rangers know they're going to be up for a challenge, too, even though they have the momentum and will again be on their home ice.

"They're going to be ready to play," New York coach Gerard Gallant said, per Cherwoo. "You don't win two Stanley Cups and not be ready to play at this time of year."

So while the Rangers impressed in Game 1, they could struggle in Game 2, as the Lightning make the necessary adjustments to have a bounce-back performance. Expect Tampa Bay's defense to step up and play better, while Vasilevskiy is unlikely to have another shaky showing.

In a lower-scoring contest, Tampa Bay will win Game 2 and head home with the series tied. And at that point, the Lightning may be in a position to take control of this series.

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