NHL Picks: Predators vs. Blackhawks Game 3 to Go 'Over' If Crawford Plays

David Lawrence

Saturday, April 18, 2015 3:07 PM GMT

The Nashville Predators not only evened up the series in Game 2 with the Chicago Blackhawks but they sent a big statement in their 6-2 win. They are not going to be trampled. Who’ll take the important edge in Game 3? The Blackhawks are favored on the NHL betting lines.

The Nashville Predators Can Win Because…
They’ve gotten to Corey Crawford. Sure, the Blackhawks goaltender shared the Jennings Trophy with Carey Price but he’s been an unmitigated disaster in this series. He gave up three quick goals on 12 shots in Game 1 and then got the hook, and then gave up six goals on 35 shots in Game 2 after he got another chance. They’ve clearly gotten into his head and if he’s back in net for Game 3, the Predators should have a field day.

At the other end of the ice, it was good to see Pekka Rinne finally settle down. For the first time in six games, he allowed less than three goals and that really helped the Predators cause. It seems like that’s the cut off for them: three goal or more and they lose but two goals or less and they win. With Crawford being a head case and Rinne settling down, it looks like the Predators have the edge between the pipes going forward.

In Game 2, the Predators showed that they are a mentally strong team. They blew a 3-0 lead in Game 1 only to be heartbroken in double overtime. In Game 2, they again blew a couple of one-goal leads before eventually pulling away. This is a team that’s tougher than people gave them credit for.

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The Chicago Blackhawks Can Win Because…
They’re going to play better in Game 3. While the final score indicates a blowout, the truth is that Game 2 was a lot closer than people think. The Blackhawks were trailing by one goal midway through the third period before the doors got blown off the barn. There were two main problems for the Blackhawks in Game 2: they were undisciplined in terms of penalties and they got outplayed by a hungrier, more aggressive team.

The Blackhawks took four penalties in Game 2, including one just 1:31 into the game, which the Predators capitalized on. They were the only team to take a penalty in the third, which is exactly when Nashville ran away with it. In terms of effort, the Predators came out like they were shot out of a cannon as they had 16 shots in the first period. In the first and third periods combined, the Blackhawks were outshot 28-12.

For Chicago to even things up, they have to start playing a full 60 minutes, which they are more likely to do at home, and be more disciplined. With the crowd on their side and the energy in their corner, look for them to get back ahead in this series.

 

Outlook
With the series back in Chicago, the NHL betting lines are too heavily juiced in their favor. However, with a short total of five, the over looks like a strong play. We saw seven combined goals in Game 1 and eight goals in Game 2. If Crawford is in net for Game 3, the over is a strong NHL pick.

NHL Pick: Over 5 at Bovada