Predators are Top NHL Betting Pick vs. Avalanche in Game 2
The Nashville Predators are the MyBookie NHL betting favorites to win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history after reaching the Finals last year. The Preds look to take a 2-0 first-round lead in their Western Conference series Saturday night vs. Colorado before the series shifts to Denver.
Avalanche at Predators NHL Betting Odds & 2018 Playoffs Pick – Game 2
When: Saturday, 3 PM ET
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville
Radio: Altitude Sports 950 AM (Denver) / WPRT 102.5 FM The Game (Nashville)
Opening NHL Betting Lines: Predators -345, Avalanche +275 (5.5)
Why Bet on Colorado?
The Avalanche are at such a disadvantage here because they are without No. 1 goaltender Semyon Varlamov and top defenseman Erik Johnson due to injuries. In addition, they entered this series on a 10-game losing streak to Nashville.
Still, the Avs played well for two periods of Game 1 before fading and losing 5-2. The Avalanche used their elite speed to keep Nashville on their toes in a way many wouldn’t have expected. Jonathan Bernier stopped 26 of 30 shots. Bernier made just his fifth appearance and second start in the NHL postseason. He will go into Game 2 with a 4.07 goals-against average and .867 save percentage.
Nikita Zadorov and Blake Comeau scored for the Avs. Zadorov gave the Avalanche an early 1-0 lead with assists going to Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon. Zadorov also picked up 12 penalty minutes, three blocks and three shots in 21:11 of ice time in the Game 1 defeat. Comeau’s first of the postseason momentarily gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead, but Nashville took over the contest after that.
Rantanen earned an assist in his NHL playoff debut. The Avalanche had eight players skating in their first Stanley Cup Playoff matches in Game 1 on Thursday night against Nashville, including four rookies. The others were Zadorov, Sven Andrighetto, J.T. Compher, Samuel Girard, Tyson Jost, Alexander Kerfoot and David Warsofsky. The Avalanche came in with only 14 players with playoff experience, and their most seasoned player, Colin Wilson, was on Nashville’s roster a year ago.
Colorado’s top line of Rantanen, MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog was a combined minus-6.
“I’m happy with the way we played,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said. “I felt like we did enough to almost earn a better result but now we’re going to have to go and dig in even harder to make sure we do earn a better result. We’re capable.”
Why Bet on Nashville?
The Predators were perhaps overlooking the Avalanche in falling behind 1-0 and 2-1 before waking up and pulling away. Trailing 2-1, Nashville scored four unanswered goals, beginning with Craig Smith at 8:50 of the second period.
Filip Forsberg scored twice. Forsberg took over the game in the third period with a pair goals, including the game winner. Forsberg gave the Predators a 3-2 lead at 6:08 of the third when he redirected a Roman Josi shot from the point. His marker that made it 4-2 was scored in highlight-reel fashion when put the puck between his legs before skating around former Predators defenseman Samuel Girard.
“We hadn’t played our best hockey in the first two periods,” Forsberg said. “We just wanted to push. They did a good job of playing us hard in the first two, and I don’t think just that third period push was a good enough game.”
Forsberg has 28 Stanley Cup playoff points (17 goals, 11 assists) to tie Shea Weber (13 goals, 15 assists) and David Legwand (13 goals, 15 assists) for most in Predators history. Forsberg has five goals in his past two games. He had a hat trick in the final game of the regular season. Colton Sissons scored one goal and added an assist. Sissons scored an empty-net goal with 1:57 remaining in regulation. His assist came in the second frame on goal by Austin Watson.
Pekka Rinne stopped 25 shots. He foiled Rantanen’s breakaway attempt with his right toe late in the second period, then snagged MacKinnon’s close-range shot in the third period to maintain the 2-2 tie. Rinne won his 37th NHL playoff game to break a tie with Antti Niemi for most playoff wins by a Finland-born goalie.
Just as the final horn blew, a large scuffle broke out between opposing players in the corner. It lasted a few seconds before it was broken up. If anything, the altercation served as some added fuel to Game 2. The Preds were without defenseman Yannick Weber and center Calle Jarnkrok for Game 1. Both are considered day-to-day with upper-body injuries but both have been skating at practice.
Latest NHL Betting Trends
- Colorado is 3-7 ATS in the last 10 games
- Colorado is 1-4 SU in the last 5 games
- The total went OVER in 4 of Colorado’s last 5 games
- Nashville is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 games
- Nashville is 4-1 SU in the last 5 games
- The total went OVER in 5 of Nashville’s last 7 games
Expert NHL Betting Prediction
If the Avs were going to steal a game in Nashville, it was going to be Game 1. Preds win this one 3-1.