Nashville Predators @ Anaheim Ducks – Honda Center at 02:00

More NHL action as my latest NHL Handicap Betting preview covers the first game of the conference finals. Anaheim welcome Nashville to Southern California as they aim to go one better than their last appearance here two years ago. Whereas for Nashville, this is the first time in franchise history that they have made it to the final four.

Optimism in Music City

As the eighth seed in the Western Conference, not many would have predicted that the Predators would make it to the conference final. The most surprising statistic in their fantastic run is that they have only lost two games in the process. Their run mirrors the Los Angeles Kings team of 2012, who were also seeded eighth in the west and won the Stanley Cup with only 4 losses in the postseason.

One of the more notable stories of the playoffs was the Preds’ sweep over the Chicago Blackhawks. They only conceded 3 goals in the series thanks to the their study defence and superb goaltending of Pekka Rinne. Rinne has had a mixed couple of years. Despite Nashville making it to the second round of the playoffs last year, the Finn struggled in the crease and posted poor numbers by his standards (.908 % SV and 2.63 GAA in 14 games). The two-time Vezina finalist also posted underwhelming numbers last regular season with a .908% SV in 61 games. The 34-year old will have a huge say as to whether Nashville progress to the Stanley Cup finals.

Experience pays off in Anaheim

The Anaheim Ducks’ postseason clout was the difference as they edged the Connor McDavid led Edmonton Oilers yesterday. Although I backed the Oilers to prevail, it was no surprise that Anaheim progressed to the conference finals. Their three most potent offensive players, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry are seasoned pros. Coincidentally all three players were drafted in the first round of the 2003 draft. One of the most talented draft classes in NHL history.

In spite of Getzlaf leading the way in Anaheim with 15 points in 11 games. There is some younger blood making headway in Orange County. The Swedish double act of Jakob Silverberg and Richard Rakell are second and third respectively in points. Rakell led the team in goals with 33 in the regular season. Silverberg was second with 23.

Prediction

I’m predicting a relatively low scoring affair for this encounter. Pekka Rinne has been a difficult problem for many to resolve and he could frustrate the Ducks tonight with another stellar performance. I’m going for under 5 goals, with some good profit to boot as well.

Handicap Betting Recommendation: Under 5 goals at 2.12 (excluding OT)

Prices correct at time of writing

By @The_Drewse

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