Anaheim (1-2) at Nashville (2-1)
When: Thursday, April 21st 2016
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: NHL Network
The Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators were a combined 48-21-13 at home this season, but its the road team that has won each of the first three games in this best-of-seven first round Playoff series. Anaheim suffered a pair of 3-2 home losses to open the series, but a switch in goal sparked the Ducks to a 3-0 victory in Game 3 to make this a series. Frederik Anderson stopped all 27 shots in Tuesday’s win and now has back-to-back shutouts (regular season finale). No one is blaming John Gibson for the losses in the first two games, its just something coaches like to do to get some momentum back on their side. Bruce Boudreau made a more subtle change in his lineup by replacing Chris Wagner with veteran forward Shawn Horcoff, who set up the game’s opening goal by Jamie McGinn. Forward Chris Stewart, who played a team-low 7:13, got a goal and assist Tuesday to lead the team. The Ducks are now 22-15-5 away from home this season including Tuesday’s victory.
The Predators haven’t suffered back-to-back regulation losses at home since early February and closed the regular season with a 9-1-4 run at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville must deal with the potential absence of forward Craig Smith, who was third on the team with 21 goals and topped the club with six game-winners. Smith suffered a lower-body injury in the opening moments of Game 3 and is listed as day-to-day after missing Wednesday’s practice. Colin Wilson, who scored six times during the regular season but has six goals in his last nine postseason games, will likely take Smith’s spot. Smith scored one goal and set up another in Game 2 and is +3 for the series. The Predators are 1-for-13 on the power play against Anaheim’s top-ranked penalty kill. Goalie Pekka Rinne, who was sharp in the first two games, let up three goals on just 21 shots in Game 3.
Expect another low scoring game here tonight. Anderson has two straight shutouts and I expect Rinne to play well tonight. Both of these teams were in the top 4 in the league in shots allowed and things seem to always get tougher in the playoffs. I’m going to take a shot at the under in this one. The under is 1-0-2 so far. I can’t see six goals being scored tonight.
Pick: Under 5 -110