NHL Hockey Betting: Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks

NHL Hockey Betting:  Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks

The last NHL playoff series to get underway does so tonight as the Nashville Predators head West to take on the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center. The Ducks are one of the best stories in the NHL this season. At the start of the year, however, they were just one of the biggest disappointments in the league. Anaheim opened the season 1-9-1 and had head coach Bruce Boudreau on ‘death watch’ for being fired just a few months after he’d led the team to the Western Conference Finals. They started to get some stability late in the year and turned things around completely in 2016. Anaheim has been one of the toughest teams in hockey since then and going from where they started to winning the Pacific Division is downright remarkable.

The Nashville Predators, meanwhile, are one of the most frustrating teams in the NHL. On any given night they have the talent to look like a Stanley Cup contender. In fact, when the ‘good Predators’ show up they’re almost unbeatable combining nasty defense and top flight goaltending with size, speed and physicality. Unfortunately, the ‘bad Predators’ have shown up too often this season. On these nights they can look downright mediocre or worse. Pekka Rinne is as good as any goalie in hockey when he’s in form but he’s been erratic at times this year. Not sure what the Predators need–maybe a good sports psychologist would do the trick.

Another problem in this series is tactical–at their best, the Predators play a very similar style of hockey to Anaheim. The only problem is that Anaheim does it better and does it more consistently. Ducks have had a fair share of injuries down the stretch but most of the names on their injury report–including goaltender John Gibson–are listed as ‘probable’. Defenseman Clayton Stoner and center Brandon Pirri are downgraded to ‘expected to miss’. Interesting note–8 straight games in this series have gone ‘Over’ with one push. Hard to get a feel for how these teams matchup against each other. Predators took 2 of 3 meetings this season but both were at the Bridgestone Arena and both were early in the season before the Ducks turned things around.