Nashville Predators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Game 5 Preview
Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
When: Thursday, June 8, 2017, 8:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: NBC
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Betting on the Nashville Predators (+135)
There’s a catfish party going on once again in the Music City, as the Nashville Predators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in Monday’s Game 4 clash of the Stanley Cup Final, 4-1. The Predators are simply on a different level at Bridgestone Arena, as they’ve now won nine of their 10 postseason games at home this year.
14 Nashville players registered a point in the victory as the team capped off its most complete performance in the series on both ends of the ice. Forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Viktor Arvidsson each found the back of the net, as the duo have now combined for six points over the last three games.
However, two other Predators deserve more praise and recognition from Game 4. First is young center Frederick Gaudreau, who scored his third goal of the series and became only the third rookie in NHL history to score back-to-back game-winners in the Stanley Cup Final.
Then of course, there’s goalie Pekka Rinne, who made 23 saves – with a good number of them highlight-worthy – to ensure that the Preds even-up the series entering Game 5 in Pittsburgh this Thursday. After his shaky starts in Games 1 and 2, the finnish veteran is back to clamping down on his opposition and improves his already-stellar goals-against average in the playoffs to 1.88 along with a sweet .932 save percentage.
What Rinne has to do better is keep his nerves in check in Steel City. Although he’d surrendered a total of eight goals in the first two games, he has still been instrumental in denying the Penguins better scoring chances. The Predators have killed 15 of Pittsburgh’s 16 power-play opportunites in the series, with the lone blip dating back to the series opener.
Betting on the Pittsburgh Penguins (-155)
With the Stanley Cup Final series all tied-up, there’s still no need to panic for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Game 4’s defeat marks only the second time this postseason that the Penguins have lost two-consecutive contests.
Matt Murray stopped just 22 of 25 shots from Nashville, but he should also have a nice bounce-back effort at home in Game 5’s rubber match. Game 4 was only the first time that the 23-year-old lost back-to-back starts in the playoffs, having gone a perfect 7-0 following a loss prior to Tuesday. Murray’s not that far behind from Rinne’s stats either, as he has a 2.08 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage this postseason.
The Pens’ offense wasn’t totally in the dumps in Game 5 as well. Captain Sidney Crosby finally scored his first goal of the series and was thoroughly supported by his standout teammates as he, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Jake Guentzel combined for 11 of the team’s 24 shots-on-goal.
Speaking of Guentzel, he’s perhaps Pittsburgh’s true X-factor in the series. Although the Omaha native had his three-game scoring streak snapped on Tuesday – a total of four goals scored in the series – he’s also one of the three rookies in league history along with Nashville’s Gaudreau to have scored two-straight game-winners in the Stanley Cup Final.
On a final note, it’s worth mentioning that the Penguins have a superb 13-3 record following a loss in the postseason under head coach Mike Sullivan. Seeing how home-ice advantage has also played a huge role in this series, Game 5’s scale still tips in favor of the defending champs.
The Penguins (-155) regain the series lead in a close battle, 4-3.
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