Game 7s are always the most exciting game in hockey. What makes it even more exciting is the fact that the winner of this game 7 heads off to the Stanley Cup Finals. It doesn’t get much better than that. Also over in the Western Conference Finals there will be a game 7 taking place as well. There was no game last night. The last time we had hockey was two nights ago in Chicago, where the Blackhawks fended off the Ducks to force a game 7 in Anaheim. That was the first game all playoffs that I can legitimately say that the Ducks didn’t play good at all. They did for about 10 minutes when they had the momentum on their side after cutting the lead to 3-2, but that was about it for them. The three unanswered goals that the Blackhawks scored were pretty easy on their part. The Ducks were just standing around there on defense which opened up some great opportunities for the Hawks around the net. They capitalized on those, and the next thing you know an experienced Blackhawks team has a game 7 on their hands in Anaheim. Corey Crawford does have the experience in net over Frederik Anderson and the Blackhawks as a team do, so the Ducks better not just be relying on home ice advantage in that one.
A game 7 tonight between the Lightning and Rangers was made possible due to a win by the Rangers in game 6. I had this game pegged as going 7 before and throughout the series, then for some reason I took the Lightning in the previous game. Bad choice there, as I should have taken the better odds with the Rangers and stuck with my original prediction. Time to make amends and make the right pick tonight. It doesn’t get much better than this here tonight. We’ve had everything in this series. Blowouts, close games, and a series that has gone back and forth game to game. It all comes to an end tonight with a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals on the line.
Tampa Bay Lightning @ N.Y. Rangers
A win tonight would send the Rangers back to the promise land. They’ve been thinking about this day since they got lost in the finals. They now have a chance to erase that loss and head back with their eyes on the Stanley Cup. The Lightning are the newcomers in a sense even though they did win it all back in the 2004 season. However, this is a new Lightning team with fresh faces on the team. This is the furthest Stamkos has made it in his career, who I should say, has been finding the back of the net with relative ease lately. Henrik Lundqvist has successfully strung together three great performances against the Lightning. A rocky past and a rocky way to start the series has turned into a good series for Lundqvist. He will be the focal point of this game tonight.
Some interesting points to note regarding the Rangers in game 7s. The Rangers are currently on a six game win streak in game 7s, and they have been playing in plenty in recent years. Moreover, they are a perfect 7-0 in game 7s at home in New York. The Lightning had their chance to close this series out in game 6. I’m afraid for them that their window of opportunity closed on them at home in Florida. They have a talented team that could win tonight, but they have to get back to solving Henrik. I am going to take Lundqvist over Ben Bishop any day of the week at home in a game 7. I have to ride with the Rangers to win this one and head to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they’ll meet up with the winners of game 7 between the Blackhawks and Ducks.
PICK: RANGERS TO WIN -150 5DIMES – BEST ODDS