Both conferences in the Stanley Cup playoffs have provided us with a surprise team, and in the West, it is the Nashville Predators who have come out of nowhere to suddenly be a serious contender. Most hockey fans believed that it would be a very early exit for this group, as they were matched up with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team with the best record in the West, in the opening round. They held the Blackhawks goalless in the first two games before going on to beat them in a 4-game sweep.
That series made people sit up and take notice, but they really got everyone’s attention when they followed that win with a 6-game victory over the St. Louis Blues in the second round. The Nashville Predators are just one step away from their first ever Stanley Cup Final, but they are going to need to find a way past a very good Anaheim Ducks team.
Here’s A Closer Look At The 2017 NHL Nashville Predators Betting Analysis
Nashville Predators Strengths
The Predators emerged as a surprise mostly because their regular season stats did not really reveal a team that was primed to make a deep run. They were right in the middle of the pack in goals against average in regular season play, but they have totally dominated in the playoffs. Goaltender Pekka Rinne set the tone early by delivering back to back shutouts in the opening round versus the Blackhawks. He has gone on to post a staggering .951 save percentage through the opening two rounds, which is far and away the best of the 4 starting goaltenders left in the playoffs. Combine that with the 1.37 GAA that he has posted and you clearly see why the Predators have gone so deep in the playoffs. It not all just Rinne, though, as the entire defensive group of the Predators has been playing shutdown hockey and limiting the number of quality shots their goalie has to face.
Nashville Predators Weaknesses
This is not a team that will do very well if they are forced into a shootout situation. They are not known for their goal scoring capabilities, as witnessed by their top scorer in the playoffs, Ryan Ellis, managing just 2 goals and 9 points through 10 games. While their lack of offense may be considered a weakness by some, it can also be looked at positively in that they do not rely on a single player to do all the damage. Still, if they end up in a situation where they are behind and in dire need of a goal, you need to wonder who they are going to turn to in order to get it.
Betting the Predators in the Western Conference Final
The Ducks may well be the best match-up possible for the Predators, mostly because they are not really a huge offensive threat. This series is likely to go the full 7 games, and each of those games will almost surely be of the low-scoring variety. I like the Predators to win in 7, which you can get at odds of +400.