- Date: 7:30 pm EST on Tuesday, October 11, 2022
- Location: Madison Square Garden in New York, NY
- Who is playing?: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Rangers
The 2022-23 NHL season got underway with the Global Series in Prague, Czech Republic over the weekend, as the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks squared off in a two-game series overseas. The rest of the league will get started this coming week, with the Tampa Bay Lightning set to make the trip up to Manhattan to take on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. We’re going to take a look at the best picks for the 2022-23 NHL regular season opener between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Before we dive in, make sure to check out our NHL Stanley Cup betting guide, as well as take a look at some of the top hockey betting websites.
Lightning vs. Rangers odds
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Lightning vs. Rangers preview
After meeting in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, the Rangers and Lightning will face off on the opening night of the 2022-23 NHL season. The two sides enter the season as possible Stanley Cup Finals contenders, and will both be keen to get off to a strong start in the new campaign. After reaching the Stanley Cup in three consecutive seasons, and winning two, the Lightning will be determined to cement their dynasty with a fourth consecutive visit.
Crucial to doing that will be Tampa’s offensive core which consists of legends such as Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov. Brayden Point, who is believed to be fully healthy after an injury cost him most of the playoffs last year, will also play a huge role for the Lightning in 2022-23. Last year, Stamkos led the Lightning with 106 points. He scored 42 goals and assisted 64 during his career year. It was the first time throughout the two-time All-Star’s 14 seasons in the NHL that he recorded over 100 points. Injuries limited Kucherov to 47 games, but he registered 69 points on the year, with 25 goals and 44 assists. Over an 82-game season, Kucherov would have been on pace for a remarkable 120 points last year. With Stamkos, Point, and Kucherov leading the charge offensively, they’re supported by the elite tandem of defenseman Victor Hedman and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, both of whom can reasonably make claims for being the best in the league at their respective positions.
As for the Rangers, they’ll be returning their core of stars headlined on offense by Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and Chris Kreider. They’ll be joined by elite defensemen Adam Fox and new captain Jacob Trouba. The Rangers also have arguably the only goalie in the world able to give Vasilevskiy a run for his money, Igor Shesterkin. Shesterkin was a true Hart Trophy candidate last year, enjoying one of the best regular seasons from a goalie in recent memory and playing a huge role in the Rangers’ success last year. Panarin’s 96 points led the Rangers last year, while Kreider recorded a team-high (and career-high) 52 goals. His previous best was 28 goals, a tally he nearly doubled in his age-30 season. Zibanejad finished second on the team with 81 points in as many games, while Fox led all New York defensemen with 74 points (Trouba was second with 39). The Rangers surrendered 207 goals last year, the second-fewest in hockey behind only the Carolina Hurricanes, as their stout defense and Shesterkin make it difficult for opponents to get points on the board.
These two teams met in the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2022 Stanley cup Playoffs last season. In that series, the Lightning advanced after six games, taking down New York 4-2. Andrei Vasilevskiy was the decisive factor in that series, as the Lightning goalie produced jaw-dropping performances throughout the series in order to help the Lightning secure the edge. They’ll hope for a similar performance from Vasilevskiy and the whole squad on opening night of the 2022-23 season, and could very well get that.
The Rangers will have home-ice advantage in this game. When playing at the busy Madison Square Garden, the Rangers went 27-10-2 last season. The Lightning went 24-15-1 on the road, which could suggest they’ll have their work cut out for them against the Rangers. Still, given the history and even spread of talent between both sides, it’s hard to predict who will win this game outright. With that in mind, our best bet for this game is the Under on the total of 5.5 goals.
In 2021-22, the Rangers went under their projected line in 47 games, hitting the over just 32 times. One of the best teams in hockey for betting the under, the Rangers and their esteemed defense will once again look to earn a win by keeping their opponents off the board. In a matchup between the two best goalies in hockey, we’re predicting a low-scoring affair. Under bettors last year would have had plenty of success with New York, and we’re expecting that trend to carry on into the 2022-23 NHL season.
Final Score Prediction: Lightning 3, Rangers 2
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