Nashville Predators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Game 1 Preview
Where: PPG Paints Arena – Pittsburgh, PA
When: Monday, May 29, 2017, 8:00 PM ET
TV Broadcast: NBC
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Betting on the Nashville Predators (+1.5)
The Preds just keep finding ways to win. Despite missing key forwards Ryan Johansen and captain Mike Fisher for the final two games against the Anaheim Ducks, they still closed out the series pretty comfortably with back-to-back wins to reach their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.
In the absence of Johansen and Fisher, Nashville has gotten timely contributions from a trio of unheralded players over those final two games. Colton Sissons had four points, including a hat-trick in the clinching 6-3 win in Game 6; Pontus Aberg had a goal and two assists; and Austin Watson scored three goals. While Johansen is out for the rest of the postseason, there’s still a chance Fisher makes it back for Game 1.
Meanwhile, the Preds’ defense will enter the Stanley Cup Final playing very well. Their top blue-line pairing of P.K. Subban and Roman Josi has been outstanding all postseason, while goalie Pekka Rinne remains a rock between the sticks. Rinne had a .946 save percentage in the final two games, and continues to lead all postseason goalies with a .941 SV%.
Nashville knows how to make a first impression. They’ve won all three Game 1’s this postseason—all on the road, and all by a one-goal margin.
Betting on the Pittsburgh Penguins (-1.5)
The champs are back to defend their crown in the Stanley Cup Final, but it wasn’t easy. For the second straight series, the Pens were pushed to the brink by the Ottawa Senators. Once again, though, they eventually prevailed in seven grueling games. Chris Kunitz was the Game 7 hero with two goals, including the series-clincher in double-overtime.
Pittsburgh’s one-two punch of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin conspicuously quiet as they combined for just two points in Games 6 and 7, but it should be a matter of time before they get going again. Malkin (24 points) and Crosby (20) are the top two points leaders in these playoffs, while teammate Phil Kessel (19) is tied for third.
The Pens power play will head into the Stanley Cup Final on fire. After going 0-of-11 for a four-game stretch, Pittsburgh has gone a sizzling 6-of-12 in their last five games on the man advantage.
Meanwhile, goalie Matt Murray has looked fantastic since taking over for Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 4. Murray had a .945 save percentage in the four games he’s started, which includes a Game 5 shutout.
Pittsburgh, which had the best home record during the regular season, has once again been pretty reliable on home ice during the postseason. They’re 7-3 at PPG Paints arena, and have won their last three in a row.
The defending champs draw first blood in the Final as the Pens (-160) take Game 1, 3-1.
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