Tonight is one of the greatest night in hockey: Game 7 -- one game left, win and you're in. The Tampa Bay Lighting and New York Rangers play in a do-or-die game tonight. Which team will punch its ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals?
Tampa Bay Lighting Offense
Tampa Bay has one of the best offenses in the league with players such as Steven Stamkos, who is the leader of the team. He has been quiet this postseason, and he has been outshined by the three young stars in Nikita Kucherov, Alex Killorn, and Tyler Johnson. These three young guys have been the stars of the playoffs. They all can score goals at will.
The Lightning are a hard team to stop when hot. They also got some good depth players as well, so there is no argument that the Tampa Bay Lighting has a very strong goal-scoring offense. But for the past few games, the Lighting offense has been nowhere to be found. They have to be back at full force and scoring 3+ goals a game if they want to make the Stanley Cup finals.
New York Rangers Offense
The Rangers also have a good offense. It is not as strong as Tampa's offense, but in this series they have been successful in keeping up with the offense of the Tampa Bay Lighting. The Rangers have players such as Rick Nash, Carl Hagelin, and Derick Brassard, who all can score goals in the clutch moments. They have to be on their game tonight if they want to make it the Cup finals for the second straight season.
Advantage: Tampa Bay Lighting
Even though Tampa Bay's offense has been off during the past few games, this is the biggest game of the season for them. That should motivate the guys in the locker room to score goals. They have the potential to score more goals than the Rangers; that is one thing to look for tonight. Will Tampa be able to score goals like they have been doing all season?
Tampa Bay Lighting Defense
Tampa Bay's defense is not the backbone of the Lighting,.but it sure is something that should not be overlooked. The Lightning have a pretty good defense headed by defensemen Victor Headman. He is the rock of the Tampa Bay defense; he is the person that keeps the defense in check. He knows how to get to the body and get to the boards for checks. But for the past few games, the defense has allowed goals They need to fix that tonight in order to move on to the Cup Finals.
New York Rangers Defense
The main strength of the Rangers is most likely the defense. The Rangers have one of the best defensive teams in the entire league. They know how to get to the boards for checks. They know how to stop people from scoring, which is a big help to star goalie. This defense is leaded by Marc Stall and captain Ryan McDonagh. The addition of Keith Yandle at the trade deadline made the defensive side of the Rangers a lot better defensively, and Yandle has given the team some offensive touch as well.
Advantage New York Rangers
The defense of the New York Rangers has been on fire of late, having been able to keep the Tampa Bay goal-scoring threats off the score sheet. That needs to keep happening tonight if they want to make the Cup finals for second year in a row. The Rangers have the tools to do it all, but it depends on whether or not Tampa Bay can score goals tonight. If they cannot, that means Rangers' defense is doing its job and is moving on to the Cup Finals. Tampa Bay's defense has been slipping of late, allowing the Rangers to score goalsand force the series to a Game 7.
Tampa Bay Lighting Goaltending
Tampa Bay has an all-star goalie in Ben Bishup. He has kept the Lighting in many games this season. He is a big reason why they made it this far. Bishop knows how to play in the clutch moments. He knows how to make the big saves in the clutch, and it is hard to score goals on him. But the Rangers have shown in the past few games that they can solve Bishop, but it is not easy.
New York Ranges Goaltending
The Rangers have mostly the second-best goalie in the entire league in Henrik Lundqvist. This man is absolute money in the clutch, and what is more clutch then Game 7's win or go home? Thee Rangers have been in this postseason before because of great goaltending from Lundqvist and stayed there because of a great defensive game. Lundqvist is a big reason why they have made it this far in the playoffs this season.
Advantage New York Rangers
The man in net for the Rangers is Henrik Lundqvist. As stated earlier, this man is absolute money in solutions like this. The Rangers just survived a Game 7 vs. the Washington Capitals in the previous round. If it was not for Lundqvist, they would not have won the game. Bishop is good, no doubt, but in Game seven, the advantage goes to Lundqvist.
Prediction: New York Rangers 3-2 in Overtime.
This will be a goal-scoring Game 7 so fans who like offense will want to watch this game. The Rangers are mostly unbeatable at MSG in Game 7's, and they have been clicking as of late. Tampa Bay has been slumping, but the crowd will play a great role tonight. Tampa Bay's offense will not slip up on a chance to go to the finals. Do not be surprised if New York wins. It will come down to which goalie plays better and if Tampa Bay can score enough goals in order to win the game.