This pick marks pick three of three for me on this nine-game NHL schedule tonight, in case you haven’t had a chance to catch my first two, I’ll briefly recap my 2-0 night from last night.
The first winner of the night came between the Maple Leafs and Capitals who combined to push to the total over 6.5 with a 4-3 Capitals win. The pick looked mostly in hand throughout, especially after Washington scored three goals in 1:18 in the second period to go ahead 4-2. A late marker from John Tavares pushed the total over.
Our second winner came between the Buffalo Sabres and Anaheim Ducks as the Ducks dealt the Sabres their first regulation loss of the season – a 5-2 count on home ice. I liked my chances with John Gibson against a Buffalo offense that was due for regression as well as a Ducks offense that struggled early – but was up against a Sabres defense that was also due for regression.
Now it’s on to pick three of three for tonight, this one featuring the Nashville Predators and Arizona Coyotes from Glendale.
Season Record: 5-5
*Odds courtesy of Bovada
Predators vs. Coyotes Betting Odds:
Over 6.0 (-105)
Under 6.0 (-115)
Predators vs. Coyotes NHL Pick
After a little bit of a rocky start to the season, the Nashville Predators won a 5-2 decision in Vegas on Tuesday to avenge an ugly 7-4 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. The Predators’ offense has been white-hot to start the season as they pace the NHL with 4.67 goals per game so far, but the truth it his steam is riddled with unsustainable numbers.
That 4.67 goals per game mark is certainly one of them. Nashville has scored at least three goals in every game this season, at least four in five of six games and at least five in four of six games. We knew there was a good chance that this offense would improve with the addition of Matt Duchene down the middle, but it’s certainly not going to improve to the point where they are scoring almost five goals a night. The Tampa Bay Lightning led the NHL with 3.89 goals per game last season, with second place Calgary and San Jose finishing with 3.52. In other words, there’s an incredibly strong chance that the Predators’ goals per game average drops by well more than a goal as the season moves along.
Same thing on defense. The usually-stout Predators defense got back on track in Vegas on Tuesday, but Nashville is still tied for 28th with 3.83 goals against per game this season. The Predators have allowed at least five goals in three of six games this season – a number that doesn’t add up when we look at the recent history of this club. Sure, they dealt away defenseman P.K. Subban from their top four, how ever Subban is not a defense-first blueliner and the Predators should remain a strong defensive club without him. After all, they tied with third with 2.59 goals against per game last season. Like their offense, their defense goals against per game should drop by well over a goal as the season moves along.
As is the case with late start times in the west, we aren’t sure who will start this game in goal tonight for either club, but after a solid game in Vegas on Tuesday it’s hard to imagine the Predators going to anyone else but Pekka Rinne despite an anticipated lower workload for him this season. Juuse Saros was obliterated in L.A. on Saturday, so I’m almost positive the start will go to Rinne who turned aside 33 of 35 Golden Knights shots for this fourth win of the season on Tuesday.
The Coyotes are coming off a solid 4-2 win in Winnipeg on Tuesday, just the second time this season they have scored more than two goals in the five games they have played to this point. Entering this one, the Coyotes are averaging just 2.20 goals per game, good for 29th league wide. While that’s a very low number, it’s not due for a ton of positive regression as they finished last season averaging just 2.55 goals per game, tied for 28th. They added Phil Kessel in the offseason, but he’s yet be a factor and it will be tough for the Coyotes to score another four tonight against what will be a good Predators defensive team.
The Coyotes are much alike last year’s club from a defensive standpoint as well. Their 1.80 goals against per game ranks third in the league so far after finishing fifth last season with 2.68 goals against per game. Their blueline took a hit when Niklas Hjalmarsson cracked his fibula clocking a shot over the weekend, however the defense remained strong in holding a strong Jets home offense to just two goals on Tuesday. Only the Boston Bruins have received a better save percentage than the .945 mark the Coyotes have received from the Darcy Kuemper/Antti Raanta duo.
If you couldn’t tell already, I’m leaning for the under here. It would be surprised if both of these teams didn’t finish the season in the top 10 defensively, and the Coyotes appear set to struggle up front again against some quality defenses in the Western Conference. The Predators are indeed the league’s highest scoring team, but their ridiculous 4.67 goals per game is due for some major regression moving forward, and this Coyotes defense appears to be the perfect unit to quiet them down. The two team will need to combine to score seven goals in order to sink this pick, so I’ll roll with the under 6 tonight from the desert.