There were some tough breaks on the card yesterday in the NHL. The St. Louis Blues blew a 3-0 lead as a +120 underdog, and then the Canadiens blew a lead in the 3rd period for us as well. Both games ultimately went to overtime, and in both instances, they lost two winnable games. Overtime, in the regular season at least, can be like playing roulette. You often need good puck luck and a bad line change by the opposing team to win. In the playoffs, they go back to 5-on-5 hockey to decide games in extra time. In any event, 3-on-3 hockey is exciting and can provide thrilling conclusions, though it wasn’t what we were looking for on Saturday. It happens and will happen again.
The Nashville Predators put on an impressive display in Los Angeles last night, as they trounced the LA Kings by a score of 4-1. It was a rare night where we saw the Predators’ defence step up and make some stops when they had to. Pekka Rinne came up big when required, having stopped 23 of 24 shots sent his way. They could go back to Rinne on Sunday, but it’s highly unlikely they give a 37-year-old goaltender a back-to-back, especially against a beatable team like the Ducks today.
If this were a must-win situation late in the season, expect to see Rinne playing again, though. Considering how shaky Juuse Saros has been in the crease, how confident would Peter Laviolette be in going to him in a big game? I surely wouldn’t want Saros in net, hence an injury to Rinne would likely put the Predators’ season in ruins. They enter Anaheim with a record of 19-15-6 and 44 points. About now would be the time for the Predators to get hot. They had a complete effort last night, but we’ve seen the Predators run hot and cold often this season. Prior to that win, the Predators were on a three-game losing streak.
The Ducks will be well rested after getting a couple of days off following a trip to the desert for meeting against the Vegas Golden Knights and Arizona Coyotes. They suffered losses in both games, with a 5-2 loss against the Golden Knights and 4-2 in Arizona. The Ducks have lost three of their last four games, as they sink further down in the Pacific Division. They’re battling with the Kings in the basement of the division, the Ducks with 37 points and the Kings at 38 points. The Preds blasted the Ducks, 6-1, in their first meeting this season, so we’ll see if we see a repeat on Sunday. Head below for our free Predators vs. Ducks pick.
Nashville Predators vs. Anaheim Ducks Betting Odds:
Predators vs. Ducks Prediction:
Overworking Rinne in the second-half is a cause for concern in Nashville for the Predators. He isn’t having a typical season like we’ve seen from him in prior seasons, but a fresh Rinne down the stretch is going to be necessary for the Predators. In a perfect world Juuse Saros would be getting a good number of starts as well. However, Saros has been awfully shaky, and the Predators might be forced to overwork Rinne a bit. Saros is expected in Anaheim tonight, and the Ducks have to be excited to face him instead of Rinne.
The Preds’ backup netminder has posted a 3.22 GAA and 0.89 save percentage in 16 starts. He was benched in his most recent appearance after allowing 3 goals on 8 shots against the Penguins. Prior to that, Saros appeared in relief duty against the Penguins, having yielded 2 goals on 19 shots. In his last two starts between the pipes, Saros has surrendered 8 goals on 32 shots for a horrific 0.708 save percentage. If you’re a Predators’ fan that’s difficult to look at. Both outings came on the road, where Saros has been unable to stop a beach ball in the crease. The 24-year-old owns a 3.66 GAA and 0.885 save percentage in 11 appearances.
Anaheim’s offence has been abysmal this season, but at least they’ve shown up at home for 2.7 goals per game. That’s adequate to compete in some games. However, not good enough to win many games when the defence has gotten whacked for 3.52 goals per game at the Honda Center. The Ducks might be taking more chances at home, but it’s also resulted in good scoring chances on the other end.
In their previous ten games they’ve allowed 3.6 goals per game. The OVER has gone 5-1 in their last six games, while the OVER is 7-1 in the Predators’ previous eight outings. I’d like to take the Predators here, as they ride momentum from last night into Sunday. Although, Saros at this price is awfully scary. I don’t think laying -140 on Saros, especially on the road is a recipe for long-term success.
The Ducks don’t have the best offence, clearly, but Saros has struggled against below average units in the past. Between the Red Wings, Kings, and Coyotes (pre-Taylor Hall), they scored 14 goals on him for a combined save percentage of 0.853. Allowing 4 goals on 27 shots against the Red Wings is bad enough. The Predators on the moneyline doesn’t provide much value here, but they’re likely going to score consistently in this one anyway. That doesn’t indicate Saros is going to carry his own weight in this one, though. With the Ducks’ spotty defence, and the backup netminder intending to start for the Predators, a total of 5.5 looks a hook too short here.