The battle for the right to hoist Lord Stanley’s mug has reached its pinnacle and with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators contending in the Stanley Cup final, your time to bet on the NHL is swiftly running out.
Coming through on their promise of victory in Game 3, P.K. and the Predators are primed to keep the ball rolling in their home building where they’re are now 8-1 straight up this postseason, outscoring their opponents 30-14.
Pekka Rinne has a .949 save percentage at Bridgestone Arena in the playoffs and after an excellent performance on Saturday, it looks like he cured what’s been ailing him. Nashville has been giving their No. 1 netminder plenty of run support over the course of this Cup campaign so if he continues his stellar play in Smashville, it’s likely this thing heads back to the ‘Burgh tied at two games each.
If that happens, the pressure will shift immediately back to the Penguins. Pittsburgh has been heavily outplayed for the majority of this series and another loss in Nashville tonight would put them in a bad spot.
Pekka Rinne needed to plug some of his leaks in Game 3 if the Predators were to get back into the Stanley Cup final and that’s exactly what he did. Stopping all but one of the Penguins’ 28 shots on Saturday, Rinne thrust himself back into the Conn Smythe conversation and upped his postseason save percentage at home to .949. With the win Saturday, Nashville is now poised to level this series as faves for Game 4 and to send the best-of-seven back to Pittsburgh for a scale-tipping fifth game.
The Predators are 12-1 SU in their last 13 games in the playoffs at home.
The total has gone UNDER in 10 of the Predators’ last 13 games with a closing total of 5.5 or more.
Matt Murray has a .908 save percentage on the road this postseason.
It wasn’t just Rinne who redeemed himself in the crucial victory. Roman Josi, who tied the game with a power-play blast in the second, supplied three points in the victory and fired six shots on net (twice the shots that Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel combined for in Game 3). The Swedish blue-liner has been a mercurial figure this postseason and many were pointing the finger of blame his way after his horrendous showing in Game 2.
He and the Preds could have folded after going down 2-0 to the defending champs but they instead decided to rally. This series isn’t over by a long shot and if Nashville can play another 60 minutes like they did on Saturday, it could be going the distance.
Now outscoring opponents 30-14 in their own barn this postseason, it can easily be understated just how good Nashville has been in front of the home fans. That plus-1.78 goals per game differential is by far the best in the playoffs so the Penguins, who have allowed an average of 3.10 goals per game in their 10 road contests this postseason, will have to be much better on Monday night if they want to put a stranglehold on this series. Sign up at Heritagesports and bet on the NHL Stanley Cup final.