Anaheim Ducks (+100) at Nashville Predators (-120, 5 o/u)
Hitting the road down two games to none is a bad spot for any team. But this isn’t the first time this year that the Anaheim Ducks (0-2, 0-0 road) have had their backs against the wall. The team started the year losing nine of its first ten, only to storm back and win the Pacific Division. Anaheim will hope to begin a similar turnaround tonight in Game 3 of their best of seven series with the Nashville Predators (2-0, 0-0 home) tonight at Bridgestone Arena (9:30 PM Eastern).
The Ducks went on a tear in the latter part of the year, winning 23 of their last 41 games. As state rivals LA and San Jose limped to the finish line, Anaheim went 6-2-2 in its last ten to earn the second seed in the West, edging the Kings by a single point in the division race.
After dropping the first two games at home to Nashville, which earned the first Wild Card spot in the conference, that looks like a curse in disguise. But the team is doing its best not to panic.
“I know this is cliche, but we can only worry about one game at a time,” center Nate Thompson told Anaheim’s official website. “No one thought we would be in this situation. We’re dealt that hand, and we have to deal with it.
The Predators find themselves with a two-game cushion thanks largely to the play of goalie Pekka Rinne. The big Finn has put his mediocre regular season behind him, posting a .931 save percentage over a pair of 3-2 wins.
Super sophomore Filip Forsberg leads the team with three points in the first two games. He and the Preds – who have never held a 2-0 series lead before – will be facing a desperate Anaheim team tonight, but history is on their side; teams that hold a 2-0 series lead have a 298-48 record, all-time.
Nashville has also won both meetings with the Ducks at home this year, routing Anaheim 5-1 in October and earning a 3-2 win a month later.
That said, this is an Anaheim team that isn’t going to go quietly. Take the visitors to storm out of the gate in Game 3 and get back in the series.
Pick: Ducks (+100).
(Photo Credit: Sarah Connors CC BY 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.)