Stanley Cup Playoffs player props: Rangers and Lightning battle in the East

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) celebrates with defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) after the Lightning eliminated the Florida Panthers during Game 4 of an NHL hockey second-round playoff series. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

Imagine trying to follow up Game 1 of the Western Conference Final?

Well, that’s exactly what the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning will be tasked with tonight as they collide on Broadway for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final.

When it comes to the Bolts, it’s the old rest versus rust debate. Jon Cooper’s squad has been off for nine days since sweeping the rival Florida Panthers. Meantime, New York needed another hard-fought seven game series to dispose of the Carolina Hurricanes.

At any rate, dissimilar to the West Final, offence may be at a premium in this series. Here are some prop bets to consider:

PROP #1: Andrei Vasilevskiy Over 26.5 Saves (-130)

Dating back to Game 7 in Round 1 against Toronto, the 2019 Vezina winner has surrendered one goal or less in five straight appearances. In 11 playoff games, the Lightning have surrendered an average of 33.6 shots per game. Furthermore, Vasilevskiy has made more than 26.5 stops in nine of those 11 contests. Tampa’s been off for nine days, it’s fair to expect some rust —at least early on.

PROP #2: Igor Shesterkin Over 28.5 Saves (-115)

Not to be outdone, this year’s Vezina frontrunner has been exceptional lately too. Following an inconsistent opening round, the 26-year-old surrendered just 12 goals in seven outings against the Carolina Hurricanes in Round 2. Through 14 games – keeping in mind that lengthy Game 1 against Pittsburgh – the Rangers have allowed an average of 38.9 shots against per game. Shesterkin has covered the 28.5 number in five straight outings and nine of 11.

PROP #3: Ryan Strome Over 1.5 SOG (-180)

It’s a steep price but Strome has looked like a different player offensively in this postseason. Similar to Nazem Kadri, he’s been shooting the puck a lot more. The 28-year-old pending UFA has mustered 42 shots on goal in 14 games, an average of three per outing. Also, he has covered the 1.5 number in four of the past five games.

PROP #4: Victor Hedman Over 2.5 SOG (-160)

Once again, you’ll have to pay some juice, but more times than not, you can’t go wrong with the Hedman shot prop. In 11 playoff games, the 31-year-old has tallied 39 shots on goal for an average of 3.5 per contest. Hedman had eight shots on goal over the final two games against the Panthers.

Betting odds listed above via the Bet365 Sportsbook as of Wednesday afternoon.

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