Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators Free Game 3 Pick - Betting Odds
The Pittsburgh Penguins head on the road with a 2-0 series lead against the Nashville Predators in this season’s best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals with Game 3 set for this Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. The puck drops at 8 p.m. (ET) and the game will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network.
Pittsburgh at Nashville Game Overview
It was not pretty, but the defending champs successfully defended their home ice in the first two games of this series. Pittsburgh outlasted Nashville 5-3 in Game 1 as a -160 favorite and it used a three-goal barrage in the third period of Wednesday’s Game 2 to beat the Predators 4-1 as a -136 favorite on the closing betting line. The Penguins head to Bridgestone Arena with a 5-4 record away from home in this season’s playoffs and the total has gone OVER or ended as a PUSH in six of those nine games.
Heading into the third period of Game 2 tied at 1-1, Pittsburgh showed why it is the defending NHL Champion with three goals in the first three and half minutes of play. Jake Guentzel got things going with his second goal of the game and Evgeni Malkin put things away for good with his ninth postseason goal. After failing to score more than three goals in 10 of their previous 11 playoff games heading into this series, they have ramped things up with a combined nine goals in the first two games of this series.
Nashville played well enough to win both of those games in Pittsburgh, but a few unfortunate breakdowns in each contest cost it dearly on the scoreboard. Prior to giving up four or more goals in each of the first two games of the NHL Finals, the Predators’ defense only allowed more than three goals once in the 16 games they played in their first three postseason series. The total stayed UNDER or ended as a PUSH in 13 of those contests.
Two things need to happen for Nashville to get back into this series with a victory on Saturday night. First, players such as Filip Forsberg and Colton Sissons have to start lighting the lamp. These two centers have combined for 14 goals in the postseason, but only one of those goals has been in this series. The second thing the Predators need is better play from Pekka Rinne in goal. He came into this series with a stellar 1.70 goals-against average, but that number has been blown out of the water against Pittsburgh. Nashville head coach Peter Laviolette has not named Rinne the starter for Game 3 so do not be surprised if he turns to backup goalie Jusse Saros to try and get things back on track.
Pittsburgh at Nashville Game Betting Trends
- The Penguins have now won eight of their last 10 games in the NHL Finals and they are 7-3 in their last 10 games against the Central Division. The total has gone OVER in 10 of their last 14 games on a Saturday.
- The Predators are 19-7 in their last 26 home games and they are 6-2 in their last eight games after failing to score at least two goals in their previous outing. The total has stayed UNDER or ended as a PUSH in 10 of their last 11 games at home.
- Head-to-head in this matchup, the home has won the last five meetings and the total has gone OVER in four of those games.
Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators Prediction
The Penguins did what they had to do to take the early edge in this series while protecting its home ice advantage, but they know there is still quite a bit of work to be done before they can keep the Stanley Cup in town for another year. Nashville has to hang its hat on a pair of moral victories after outplaying its opponent everywhere on the ice except the scoreboard in the first two games.
I am going with Nashville on Saturday night given its low -131 moneyline in this matchup. This is still the team that sent Chicago packing in four games and I believe that the Predators will channel the energy on their home ice to get the win in Game 3 of this series.
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