Anaheim Ducks vs Nashville Predators NHL Odds Analysis
The Pacific Division champion Anaheim Ducks and the wild card Nashville Predators meet in the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs, and we have a full NHL odds analysis on this game for all fans.
Game 1 is set for Friday night in Anaheim. The Ducks finally clinched the division crown on the last night of the regular season, so this wasn’t one of those seasons when they simply dominated the division. At the end of December, this was a team that was not likely to make the playoffs at all. Since the Christmas break, though, then have gone 34-10-5, better than any other team in the league.
On January 12, they sat 16 points behind the Los Angeles Kings in the division but came all the way back, knocking off the Washington Capitals in the season finale to take the title. However, the Ducks may not have done themselves any favors, as they meet a team who beat them two out of three times in the regular season this year.
Anaheim vs Nashville NHL Odds Analysis
Date/Time: Friday, April 15, 10:30 PM ET
Location: Honda Center, Anaheim
Opening Line: Ducks -1½
TV Broadcast: NBCSN
Why should you bet on Anaheim to win?
It’s true that Nashville took two of three this year, but it’s also true that they haven’t met since November 17, which was back when Anaheim was playing dreadful hockey. No team has allowed fewer goals this year than Anaheim — and that’s with an awful first half of the season. They have two solid net minders in Frederik Andersen and John Gibson, and they have a good crew of blue liners. This was a team that stopped focusing on being a high-flying squad and put defense first — and that’s what spurred the mammoth comeback. Nashville does have a better offense than usual, but Anaheim could still squeeze the life out of them if they put the defense on all spots.
Why should you put your money on the Predators to win?
The Predators have a stellar goalie of their own in Pekka Rinne. They also have a blue line corps that can shut down the scoring lines from Anaheim. Roman Josi, Shea Weber and the rest are still one of the best defensive groups in the entire league, and they could slow things down and make life hard for the Ducks’ scoring lines. The goalie pair for Anaheim has been outstanding this season, but neither one has has any real playoff experience in shutting down the opposition. Gibson is still classified as a rookie and is still waiting for his first chance to play in a real playoff series. The Predators have to keep their secondary scoring up to win.
Expert Pick and Final Series Prediction
The NHL almost always sees a top seed go down in each conference every year. Hockey is a game that goes with bounces, and momentum swings more wildly in these playoffs than they do in any of the other major professional sports. Nashville is a lot better than people think this year, and I do think that their defensive group is second to none. The fact that Anaheim split up Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and made two elite scoring lines is a problem, though, and the Ducks have simply been taking teams to the woodshed since we flipped the calendar in 2016. I’m picking Anaheim in five.