The Anaheim Ducks are as resilient as any team left but will the Bridgestone Arena crowd be too much to overcome as a conference final comes to Nashville for the first time in their history.
I usually don’t put a lot into home ice advantage but it would be foolish to overlook the advantage that Bridgestone Arena gives the Nashville Predators. Nashville has won five straight playoff games home, outscoring their opponents 15-6, but their success didn’t just start in 2017. Going back to last season the Predators have now won nine straight, a fact that’s hard to overlook. I can’t imagine to what level the crowd noise will be tonight with the team hosting their first conference title game.
There has been a lot of talk about individual battles like Ryan Kesler and Ryan Johansen but the real battle could be taking part between Pekka Rinne’s ears after allowing a soft goal to Nick Ritchie in game two and perhaps you could throw in the power play goal by Sami Vatanen to cut the Nashville lead to 2-1 as one he should have had too. The four goals allowed in game two was the most that Rinne has allowed this postseason, facing only 26 total shots.
Aside from the uncharacteristic performance its hard to overlook the Finn’s success at home where’s he’s allowed just one goal in four of the five games at home while allowing more than two goals just twice overall.
As impressive as Rinne’s numbers are at home the Ducks success in Nashville is anything but. The Ducks have dropped their last two visits by a combined score of 8-1. Las November the Preds shut out the Ducks 5-0.
Although the price is a little high there isn’t any other option tonight as the Predators take a 2-1 series lead.
Make sure to check out the ‘Puckheads’ show every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday right with myself and Andrew McInnis.
Keep checking SBR's NHL Odds page for the best available number on tonight’s play.
Final Regular Season NHL Selection Record: 87-73 .544 +16.95 units
Postseason Record: 14-13 .519 +4.81 units
Overall: 101-86 .540 +21.76 units