What can the Nashville Predators do to get back into the Stanley Cup Finals? We grant you that they were not favorites coming into the series against the defending champions, but they were getting a lot of respect, priced at +145 at VietBet, and that is a statement for a team that came into the post-season as the #8 seed.
But the Preds got on a roll and stayed there. It did not hurt them at all, of course, that they were able to win the first game on the road in each of the three playoff sets they have engaged in – at Chicago, St. Louis and Anaheim. But as they have lost the first two games of the Finals at the PPG Paints Arena, that kind of “edge” has most definitely been lost.
Stanley Cup Betting Odds:
In the Stanley Cup Betting Odds posted at VietBet for Game 3, the Predators are favored on their home ice:
Spread: Pittsburgh Penguins +1 1/2 1.385, Nashville Predators -1 1/2 3.200
Money Line: Predators 1.741, Penguins 2.150
Total Points: Over 5 1/2 2.150, Under 5 1/2 1.741
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The good news for Peter Laviolette’s team is that they have won seven out of eight games on their home ice in the playoffs, and that loss was in overtime. So the Penguins should not make a lot of assumptions.
But the signs are pretty good coming out of Pittsburgh. They demonstrated in Game 2 that they do not need Sidney Crosby to get very hot for them to succeed. In fact, one of the key people has been Jake Guentzel, the rookie who has not broken out of a mini-slump. Guentzel, who came into the Finals leading all post-season goal scorers, had not netted a goal in eight games, but he has scored in the first two contests.
There is a problem on the Nashville side, and VietBet patrons know it, as they have had to move forward without top center Ryan Johansen, who suffered an injury to his thigh and was shelved. Mike Fisher, who had gone 14 playoff games without registering a single point (goal or assist) has come alive a little, but that hasn’t been enough.
Not that Nashville hasn’t gotten some pressure on Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray. But they have gone dry at the wrong times; for example, on Wednesday night they had only six shots in the final period, while the Penguins scored three goals. Pittsburgh also exploded with three goals in a little more than four minutes in the opener.
And eventually this Game 2 failure led to Pekka Rinne being pulled. Rinne had been looking very much like a Conn Smythe Trophy candidate, with a .941 save percentage coming into the series. But in the first two games that percentage is just .778. Rinne’s career goals-against versus the Penguins is close to 4.00, and that is not going to do if it doesn’t change right away.
Nashville’s defense was less successful in Game 2, but you can’t deny that the Predators were dominant for a long period of time in the opener. In fact, they went 37 minutes without allowing a shot on goal, and that included all of the second period, which was the first time since these stats have been recorded in the post-season that it has happened. It will be incumbent upon the corps of defensemen to get that done, with the likes of PK Subban and Roman Josi getting the puck up the ice and into the Penguins’ offensive zone.
The next game is Saturday at the Bridgestone Arena, and the Predators are the favorite at VietBet, where you can get a great free play bonus just for signing up, in addition to the chance to place wagers during the game with Live Betting Ultra……You can deposit in a number of different ways, including your Visa card, person-to-person transfers (like Western Union) and the virtual currency of Bitcoin, which is fast and easy with their automated system!