The Winnipeg Jets have a chance to put an end to their series against the Nashville Predators with a win tonight. The Jets got an unlikely win in Game 5, as they not only beat, but blew the Preds out easily. Nashville came in to the playoffs as favourites and now they’re backs are up against the wall in a must-win scenario. If they can win in a hostile environment in Winnipeg, which they’ve done once already, the Preds get a do-over on home ice in Nashville. The Jets cannot afford to go back to Tennessee. That’s going to be tough to pull off in a Game 7 on the road. However, it could be tough for the Preds to win twice in this series in Winnipeg. The Jets were the best home team in the league. Conversely, though, the Predators were the best road team in the NHL, so they do have that going for them.
For the Jets, they must treat this game as a must-win scenario. Even though the only team facing a must-win is the Preds, Winnipeg cannot think otherwise. Nashville is going to have a boatload of momentum going home for a Game 7. The Preds are not a team that is short of confidence. So, when you can get P.K. Subban out of whack and off his game, a guy who typically oozes with confidence, the end result is a Predators team that is not the same as we seen tin the regular season. And of course, Pekka Rinne acting as a liability in net doesn’t help matters, either. Rinne was chased by the Jets and benched. It isn’t the first time he’s been benched in the playoffs. The last time he had a horrid game, where he allowed 5 goals in Game 3, he bounced back the following game to allow just 1 goal. We will see if history will repeat itself. Head below for our free Predators vs. Jets Game 6 pick.
Nashville Predators vs. Winnipeg Jets Game 6 Pick
Rinne was the difference for the Predators in Game 4. The Predators managed to grab that one and take a split in Nashville for Game 3 and 4 in Winnipeg. It wasn’t the biggest margin, by a score of 2-1 to tie the series back up and take back home-ice advantage. In Game 5, Rinne was the difference for all the wrong reason. He allowed 6 goals on 26 shots, which amounts to a pathetic save percentage of 0.769. The Preds outshot the Jets easily, as they hit the net 40 times while the Jets had 26. Some people may want to try and dissect this series under a microscope and go about it that way, but it’s really pretty simple: Rinne vs. Hellebuyck.
The Predators and Jets were close in the standings in the regular season, and this has been a close series overall as well. What I can say is that these games are being decided by who wins the goaltending battle. In Game 3, Rinne somehow was worse than Hellebuyck who did not have a good game, neither did. Rinne was a wall in Game 4 and then he couldn’t stop a child in a mini sticks game in Game 5.
So what is going to happen tonight? The Predators must get the crowd out of the game early. They need to find an early goal to kill the crowd noise. Rinne bounced back nicely after one his worst starts of the year in Game 3, and I can’t see him playing so poorly in consecutive starts. This is going to be a tough environment to play in for the Predators. However, we’re still getting +140 with a 50+ win team who were the best on the road this season, and not to mention Stanley Cup finalists from 2016-17. After what happened in Game 5, it won’t be a popular pick, but I have to go against the grain and back a team everyone believed in from October all the way to May 4th.