Ducks A Reliable NHL Pick As They Get Ready To Eliminate Predators From Playoffs

Monday, April 25, 2016 1:44 PM GMT

Take a look at our capper's NHL betting analysis of this Anaheim Ducks/Nashville Predators series as the latter struggle to stand their ground and earn a spot in the next game of the cup.

Anaheim Ducks vs. Nashville Predators
The Anaheim Ducks who lead the best of seven series 3-2 can put away the pesky Nashville Predators tonight at Bridgestone Arena after being down in the series 2-0. Let's take a look at the NHL odds boards and see what we can come up with.

Boudreau's Decision
It would be fair to say that the major turnaround came when Bruce Boudreau decided that it was time to give Frederick Andersen a turn in goal after game one and two starter, John Gibson dropped the first two games of the series. The chance has paid off as Andersen has won three straight games to pull the Ducks in front.

Gibson had the regular season numbers to warrant a couple of starts but it became clear that this might be too big of a stage for a second year player. Before you tell me that Andersen is also a second year pro let me remind you that Andersen is four years older than Gibson with extensive European hockey experience. The stage may have been too big for the young Gibson.

I have some questions with the Predators strength up the middle. Do they have enough speed to overcome the Ducks defensive style especially if they get behind in the game. Top line center, Ryan Johansen is a big body but you need more production or at least attempted production. Through five games the first liner has only 12 shots on goal so naturally the old questions start to creep up about his work ethic and his ability to play in big spits.

If teams don't respect your ability to enter the offensive zone up the middle you'll find yourself playing more of a perimeter game with little ability to get to the net which always favors the opposing team.

Inconsistent Offense
Behind Johansen is Mike Ribeiro who seems as if he'd rather pass than shoot and Mike Fisher who is too inconsistent to rely on offensively. The Nashville top six have struggled because of the lack of scoring chances or the ability to create them and now they must change that trend against one of the best defensive teams in the league.

The Ducks offense has had better offensive showings as of late because they have defensemen that make purposeful and successful passes out of the defensive zone. Boudreau made a masterful change putting Sami Votanen to pair with Hampus Lindholm after Josh Manson was lost to injury. Combined the duo now has a +12 plus/minus rating. Depth is the difference in this series right now as it seems we are witnessing the Ducks imposing their will.

There is little doubt that momentum is on the Ducks side. After being outscored 6-4 in the first two games Anaheim has beaten the Preds by a combined score of 12-3.

More impressive is how they finished off game five by scoring three times in the third period. Their recent scoring outburst is without much contribution from the power play scoring just twice in 19 opportunities.

Final Thoughts
Nothing gives me reason to back Nashville in this spot. The Predators are 0-8 in game sixes and have lost four of their last six playoff games at Bridgestone Arena. In those six games they have totaled only four goals along with two shutouts, giving us a chance to make the right choice for this NHL pick.

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Free NHL Pick: Over 5
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker