NHL Picks: Predators vs. Ducks

Ross Benjamin

Friday, April 4, 2014 3:43 PM UTC

Friday, Apr. 4, 2014 3:43 PM UTC

The Ducks have a narrow lead over the 2nd place team in the Western Conference and will be looking to stay at the top with a win over the Predators tonight.

Predator Chasing a Duck
The Ducks host the Predators on Friday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California with the opening face-off slated for 10:05 PM ET. According to NHL betting odds the Ducks are a -220 money line home favorite and the posted total is 5.5. Anaheim has won the last 5 meetings between these teams.

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The Skinny on both Teams
The Ducks are 1st in the Pacific Division, and have a narrow 3-point les over the 2nd place San Jose Sharks. The Ducks do have 1-game in hand on the Sharks, and Anaheim has 6-games left to play in the regular season. Anaheim trails St. Louis by just 1-point for the top spot in the Western Conference, and the Blues have 1-game in hand on the Ducks. The Nashville Predators are still mathematically alive for the playoffs, but they’re pretty much on life support in that regard. The Predators are 8-points out of a playoff spot, and have just 6-games left to play. The Predators are last in the Central Division, and 12th overall in the Western Conference.

Regaining Their Form
After enduring a temporary funk the Anaheim Ducks have seemed to regain their top form in recent games. They’re winners of their last 3, and 5 of the last 6-games. The Ducks are coming off a 3-2 home win over the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday. For the 2nd consecutive game the Ducks were able to win with a dramatic 3rd period comeback. They trailed 2-0 early in the 3rd and responded with 3 unanswered goals. The winning goal was scored with just 1:21 to go in regulation time. The comeback win came on the heels of Monday’s 5-4 overtime home win over Winnipeg, in a game they overcame a 4-0 deficit, tied the game in the waning seconds, and then scored the game winner in overtime. Tonight will be the finale of a 3-game in 5-day home stand for the Ducks.

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Playing on the High Side
The Nashville Predators have seen their last 4-games all go over the total. Despite having virtually very little chance of making the playoffs, the Predators have continued to compete at a high level. They’ve earned at least 1-point in 5 of their previous 6-games. They’ve also seemed to find their goal scoring touch over that recent 6-game stretch, and have averaged 4.3 goals in those contests. Tonight will be the 1st of a 3-game in 5-day road trip for Nashville. The trip will continue tomorrow night in San Jose, and the Predators will have the opportunity to be a spoiler over the next 2 nights in regards to the Pacific Division race for 1st place. As a matter of fact all 6 of the Predators remaining regular season game will be versus teams that are either vying for a playoff spot, or trying to improve their postseason seed.

Final Analysis
The Predators have played a wide open entertaining style of hockey of late. That style of play at this time of year is not uncommon for teams that find themselves out of the playoff race. Anaheim will certainly not shy away from that type of game in light of them being the top scoring team in all of the NHL. I look for this to be a high scoring affair.

Free Pick: Nashville/Anaheim to go over the total of 5.5


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