Despite being the first team to qualify for the Stanley Cup finals after dispatching the Ducks in six games Monday night, the banged-up Predators failed to usurp the Penguins as the favorites to hoist the Cup and will more than likely be deemed the series underdog if the Pens finish off the job in the Eastern Conference.
Even though the Pittsburgh Penguins are still a win away from winning the Eastern Conference, they are Cup favorites.
The Finnish goalie now has a .941 save percentage in 16 starts this postseason and he’s lost just four games. If the Preds complete the task, it would be tough to give the Conn Smythe to anyone but Rinne even though he’ll probably pass the accolades along to the group of blue-liners who have been as good as you can ask for in front of the Finn.
The line was open a Preds +115 odds after they clinched their berth in the finals and given their current status at the center position. In Game 6 against the Ducks, Nashville was centered by Colton Sissons, Frederick Gaudreau, Calle Jarnkrok and Vernon Fiddler. That’s a scary thought when you consider they’ll probably be going head-to-head with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
However it is pretty impressive what this team has done so far and even though just nine teams have won the Stanley Cup in their first appearance in the finals, the Preds are a great underdog bet. The Pens are just as banged up, if not more so, and the Cats would be a significant favorite over Ottawa. Until the Preds go down in their Stanley Cup finals series, +115 is probably the best price you’re going to get.
They are +1200 and pretty much on life support. But stranger things have happened.
Those who take the Predators now will most likely be getting slightly shorter odds than they will when the Stanley Cup Finals start. But they’ll also get free rooting interest in seeing the Senators win Tuesday night. Nashville will be decent-sized favorites over Ottawa should the Sens make it in.
The Penguins will be favored over Nashville. But they will be larger favorites because they have star power. People have heard of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc Andre-Fleury. The only Forsberg they know is probably Peter and Pekka Rinne isn’t exactly a household name. The Predators took a chance before the season began and traded Shea Weber to Montreal for P.K. Subban and it worked out great for Nashville.
The Predators don’t have any big threats offensively. But they do possess a collection of guys like Ryan Johansen, Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg, who scored 58 to 61 points. They can get points from the defense, with Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Subban.
The key player will be Rinne, who has battled some injuries the past few years. It wasn’t too long ago he was considered one of the top three to five goalies in the game. If the Predators win, he’ll likely be the Conn Smythe winner, as he’s been brilliant in the playoffs so far. He has a save percentage of .940 and has allowed 1.70 goals per game. Sign up at Heritagesports.