The Nashville Predators lost a heartbreaker in Game 4 but bounced back admirably in Game 5 with a 5-2 win. Can they cash as a road dog on the NHL odds and edge Chicago in Game 6? They’ll have to or their season will come to an end.
The Nashville Predators Can Win Because…
They are starting to figure things out. What’s interesting in this series is the fact that the while the Blackhawks lead the series 3-2, their three wins have been very tight ones. They have come by one goal, one goal and two goals – including two come-from-behind overtime winners. As for the Predators, they’ve won twice and their two wins were by a combined margin of seven goals. It’s pretty clear that if they can just figure out how to stop blowing late third period leads, they’ll be in great shape. And had they figured that out by now, this series might have been over already. Tonight, the Predators are listed on the NHL betting odds as short underdogs.
The Preds accomplished something important in Game 5: getting past Scott Darling. He had stymied the Predators since taking over for Corey Crawford but Nashville got five goals behind him in Game 5. Although he’s likely to start Game 6, the fact that there is some debate as to whether the Blackhawks should go back to Crawford shows that the Predators got into their heads.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne seems to have settled in a little bit in this series as he’s played two solid games in a row. If he can steal a game for the Predators in Game 6, this series could very well be heading back to Nashville for a decisive seventh game.
The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…
Experience is on their side. This is a team that’s won Stanley Cups before and has been in this position many times. They know how to close out a series and in Game 6, they are likely to slam the door shut – especially on their home ice.
The Blackhawks did lose Game 5 rather badly (in terms of the scoreline) but the truth is the game was pretty close. It was 1-1 entering the third period before Chicago came apart. It’s no coincidence that the Blackhawks had just two penalty minutes through the first two periods yet had 20 in the third. The Preds were two-for-four on the power play, so that clearly shows the Blackhawks hurt themselves. Beyond that, the Predators won the battle in the faceoff circle (26-23) and outhit the Chicago too (36-16). At the end of the day, the effort wasn’t quite there. It’ll be noticeably different in Game 6 as the Blackhawks finish off the Preds.
Chicago played poorly in Game 5 and it cost them. Don’t expect a duplication of that in Game 6. With everything on the line in Game 6, they are going to play better in front of Darling and get the job. Take the Blackhawks with your NHL picks as they wrap this thing up at home on Saturday.
NHL Pick: Blackhawks -150 at BetOnline