Red Wings vs. Predators NHL Pick – March 23, 2021

We had a white-hot streak snapped late last week with a Rangers 2-1 loss despite vastly outshooting the Capitals, but The Great 8 burried a pair of late-inning goals and carried his club to a 2-1 win in that one.

Still, it’s been a dominant month of March and we’ll look to keep that going in this Red Wings vs. Predators NHL pick from Nashville!

  • Season Record: 27-25
  • Units: +1.50

Red Wings vs. Predators Betting Odds

  • Red Wings (+136)
  • Predators (-150)
  • Red Wings +1.5 (-190)
  • Predators -1.5 (+165)
  • Over 5.5 (+112)
  • Under 5.5 (-123)

Red Wings vs. Predators NHL Pick Breakdown

Red Wings

Offense

Needless to say, the Red Wings have struggled on offense again this season after finishing dead last last season with an even 2.00 goals per game.

The improvement this season has been marginal in the form of 2.22 goals per game which puts them 29th in the league while their power play has done them no favors with a 29th-ranked 11.8% clip.

It doesn’t appear they deserve much more offense than they’ve been able to produce, either.

At 5v5, the Wings rank 30th in scoring chances for/60, 30th in high-danger chances for/60 and dead last in terms of expected goals for/60, as per Natural Stat Trick. Their 1.94 goals for/60 at 5v5 this season is actually above their 1.77 expected mark, so when you add in the listless power play the Wings appear to deserve their offensive ranking this season.

They were shutout in their last game in Dallas on Saturday, but the Wings had themselves in a bit of an offensive groove prior to that. Over their previous five games, the Wings averaged 3.40 goals per game while scoring at least three goals in four of those five games.

Still, it’s not a great sign when a defenseman is leading your club in scoring. Indeed, Filip Hronek’s 18 points leads the Red Wings as the team looks to get a little more out of Dylan Larkin and co. moving forward.

Defense

Defense wasn’t a big issue earlier in the season but as the year has moved along, the Wings have struggled to prevent goals. It hasn’t exactly been the case of late with 2.25 goals against per game over their last four, but the numbers speak for themselves.

The Wings sit 25th with 3.25 goals against per game on the season while the penalty kill has been a major liability with a 71.7% mark on the season that pegs them 29th league wide.

The advanced numbers aren’t as miserable, however. At 5v5, the Red Wings rank 14th in scoring chances against/60, 24th in high-danger chances against/60 and 15th in expected goals against/60. Their 2.34 goals against/60 at 5v5 is nearly identical to their 2.33 expected mark, so as long as that penalty kill continues to struggle it’s difficult to envision this overall defense improving a whole lot moving forward.

While the end results have been of high quality over their last four, this team is giving up a ton of shots. If we include their 6-4 win over Tampa Bay five games back, they have averaged 37.2 shots against per game over their last five and two games of 40 or more against in that time. Opposing teams have posted just a 4.84% overall shooting rate in that time, so the Wings’ back end is certainly flirting with dangerous despite the bottom-line results of late.

Goaltending

Jonathan Bernier had taken over the No. 1 duties of late from Thomas Greiss, but Bernier was injured on Dallas on Thursday and there doesn’t appear to be an update on his status other than being listed as day-to-day at the moment.

With Calvin Pickard as the third-string option, we can assume that Greiss will get the nod after turning aside 30 of 33 shots in the shutout loss to Dallas on Saturday.

Greiss — signed to a two-year deal in the offseason — has struggled in his first season with the Red Wings, turning in a 3.43 GAA and .885 Sv% across 16 starts and 19 appearances, going just 2-12-4 in the process. It’s not to the same extent, but that’s similar work to what the Wings got from Jimmy Howard last season as they’ve been bitten by brutal goaltending in back-to-back years when Bernier has not been in the crease.

Greiss hasn’t had a month yet this season where he’s posted even passable numbers. He worked to a 3.03 GAA/.897 Sv% in January, 3.88 GAA/.867 Sv% in February and 3.30 GAA/.899 Sv% in March.

He’s not in the most difficult of matchups, but Greiss’ work has largely disappointed in a major way here in 2021.

Predators

Offense

The Preds’ offense has been an issue for much of the season and that hasn’t exactly changed much of late despite winning three of their last four.

They have averaged just 2.50 goals per game during that stretch but also have scored at a 20% clip (2 for 10) with the man advantage in that time. For the season, the Preds have averaged just 2.31 goals per game on the season — 28th in the league — while their 19.6% clip on the power play checks in at 18th league wide.

Unlike the Wings, the Predators’ underlying metrics paint a prettier picture than their overall offense might.

At 5v5, the Preds rank 16th in scoring chances for/60, 18th in high-danger chances for/60 and 16th again in expected goals for/60 on the season. Their 1.79 goals/60 at 5v5 is below their 2.14 expected mark, so the Preds should probably be scoring more at even strength than they have so far this season.

Look no further than their shooting rates as to why they’ve struggled to score so much. Their 11.05% shooting rate on high-danger chances at 5v5 is by far the worst in the NHL with the Sabres second-worst at an even 12%. Additionally, their overall 5v5 shooting rate of 5.82% is the worst in the league.

Last season, the worst high-danger 5v5 shooting rate was San Jose at 13.55% and the worst overall mark was the Red Wings at 6.11%. The previous season, those numbers were 13.15% and 6.61%, respectfully.

Simply from shooting rates alone, it would appear the Preds should be scoring more at even strength than they have so far this season.

Defense

Scoring goals has been an issue this season, but preventing them has been just as big of a problem in Music City.

On the season, the Preds rank 24th with 3.22 goals against per game on the season and sit 30th with a 71% mark on the penalty kill, just 0.1% better than the last-placed New Jersey Devils in that department.

It’s interesting in that their resent results resemble that of Detroit. In other words, while they haven’t allowed many goals, they’re allowing a ton of shots on goal.

Over their last four games, the Preds have averaged just 1.75 goals against per game despite yielding an average of 39.5 shots per game during that time. Opposing offenses have posted a tiny 4.43% shooting rate in that time, a number that is sure to trend higher moving forward.

Overall, Nashville has been outshot 158-96 over their last four despite winning three of those games.

All that said, the underlying metrics are solid. At 5v5, the Predators rank 10th in scoring chances against/60, 11th in high-danger chances against/60 and 12th in expected goals against/60. While their 2.35 goals against/60 is above their 2.09 expected mark, it’s not a huge difference and like Detroit, Nashville’s defense is unlikely to improve much at all if their penalty kill can’t get it figured out.

Goaltending

Juuse Saros returned from injury recently and turned aside 87 of the 89 shots he faced against the Florida Panthers over a two-game set, but still just winning one of those games due to receiving all of two goals of support during that time.

Pekka Rinne started the second half of the back-to-back against the Stars on Sunday, and he turned aside 30 of 33 shots in a shootout win that night. We don’t have a confirmed starter for this one, but I would suggest it’s Saros again given his return to health and elite work over his two outings since getting back into action.

Saros came out of the gate with a 2.54 GAA and .918 Sv% in five January outings, but endured a brutal month of February that saw him post a 3.37 GAA and .880 Sv% in seven outings. That said, he’s more than back on track with a 1.73 GAA and .960 Sv% here in March across three starts.

He certainly gives the Predators a goaltending advantage here, but it looks like we’ll have to wait a big longer to get some confirmed netminders for this matchup.

Red Wings vs. Predators NHL Pick

This is an interesting dynamic when looking at the numbers in this matchup.

We have two of the weakest offenses in the NHL, but also two of the weakest defenses and penalty kills to boot. Both teams haven’t generated many shots on goal despite enjoying success of late, but both clubs are yielding plenty of shots on goal.

While there doesn’t seem to be enough value on the Predators on the moneyline given the tight nature of the NHL season, it’s also hard to back this Red Wings defense and goaltending at this point.

Instead, I’m heading for the over 5.5 here at nice value.

I do think the Preds likely win here, but I believe they can score at least four goals in this one. Greiss is enduring a brutal season and the Wings three-game streak of holding opponents to just two goals against was snapped their last time out while their opposition shooting rate is due to climb in a big way.

I also believe the Preds are in for more puck luck given their 5v5 shooting rates for the season while they too have seen their opponents endure brutal puck luck of late as well.

Finally, while Nashville has done a fine job in preventing chances, keep in mind their top pair of Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis are both out of the lineup at the moment while just three of their top-six defensemen (Mattias Ekholm, Dante Fabbro, Matt Benning) are healthy at the moment.

Saros is hot, but his March is rather unsustainable to this point, so let’s see if these two team can combine for more than 5.5 goals at quality +112 odds tonight.

The Bet
OVER 5.5
+112
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Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.