What to Watch & Bet Tonight? Lightning vs. Rangers Eastern Conference Finals

Tonight’s Game 5 is what sports are all about.

There’s the chess match on the ice, but the mental and psychological battles that may decide who wins the Eastern Conference are just as intriguing. 

Game 5 Eastern Conference Finals: Lightning @ Rangers

Time: 8:00 pm. ET | TV: ESPN/ESPN+ | Venue: Madison Square Garden
ML: Lightning -130, Rangers +108 | Total: 5.5 @FanDuel

Why You Should Watch

Up 2-0 in the series, the New York Rangers took an early 2-0 over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3, and the Blueshirts could practically taste the Stanley Cup Finals. Three-straight goals and a Game 4 win from the two-time defending champs have the series knotted at two games apiece as the series shifts back to Madison Square Garden, where the Rangers have flourished.

Can the Rangers bounce back? Do they feel like they choked away the series? Will playing within the friendly confines help them rediscover their mojo? Are the championship mettle and muscle memory from the previous runs of the Lightning too much to overcome? Does Tampa have New York right where they want them? Can they keep their foot on the gas after storming back?

On the ice, we’re excited to see if Igor Shesterkin can put the Blueshirts on his back (will the rest of the Rangers give him a chance?) while Tampa’s Nikita Kucherov continues to deliver in the clutch for the third straight playoffs (20-plus points each postseason). Odds are the winner of Game 5 will find their way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Best Bet

Home ice advantage strikes again, and the Tampa Bay Lightning evened the series at two with a pivotal Game 4 win over the New York Rangers. Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final goes down at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight, but more importantly, when will the first goal be scored?

We think early.

This prop paid off in Game 4, and there is no reason not to expect it to pay off again. The first goals in Game 1, Game 2, and Game 4 came within the first three minutes of the opening frame. Chris Kreider’s Game 1 goal happened at 1:11 of the first period, while Nikita Kucherov’s Game 2 goal was only 2:41 into the contest, and Pat Maroon found the back of the net in Game 4 at 2:38.

Game 5 might be a tighter contest because of the stakes, but one of these teams often surprises the other early. As long as this prop keeps hitting, it’s a good idea to give it another go.

We’re taking Time of First Goals: 00:01 – 08:59 (-110).