Ducks Get the Jump on Nashville
As expected, the Nashville Predators are no longer the favorites on the Stanley Cup futures market. That honor went to the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins (+150 at press time) after they eliminated the NHL’s top team during the regular season, the Washington Capitals, in Game 7 of their second-round series.
But, the Predators are still hanging tough; they’re second on the Stanley Cup odds list at +250, and that’s despite losing Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals to the Anaheim Ducks (+350), leveling that series at one game apiece.
A strange situation out West.
The Ducks won the Pacific Division with 105 points and a decent goal differential of plus-23. The Predators, on the other hand, earned the second Wild Card spot in the conference after finishing with 94 points and a plus-16 differential.
However, Nashville has been the hottest betting commodity of these playoffs, earning 7.63 betting units against the puck line at 9-3 ATS. Even after winning Sunday’s matchup, Anaheim is 3.26 units in the red at 5-8 ATS.
Hot goaltending has once again taken the NHL postseason and dumped it on its ear.
Pekka Rinne has been the star of the show, leading all netminders with a .942 save percentage; that’s up considerably from .918 during the regular season.
It’s the opposite story for John Gibson in the Anaheim net. His save percentage is down from .924 to .911, and he’s given up a league-high 34 goals to just 20 for Rinne.
The Ducks have also seen three players hit the injury list this month: wingers Patrick Eaves and Logan Shaw, and defenseman Kevin Bieksa.
All three are day-to-day with assorted lower-body issues. These aren’t top-line players for Anaheim, but Eaves is a valuable contributor on the power play, and Bieksa is a steadying force on the blueline.
Bieksa Back For Game 3?
Good news for Anaheim supporters: Bieksa could be back in the lineup any day now. Out of commission since Game 1 of the second-round series versus the Edmonton Oilers, head coach Randy Carlyle told reporters on Friday that Bieksa was close to returning, and he will be active for Game 3 of this series on Tuesday (8 PM ET, NBCSN).
That should help tighten things up in front of Gibson, and with Rinne coming off his first bad game of the playoffs, the Ducks should have ample betting value going forward.
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