Nashville Predators (+120) at Pittsburgh Penguins (-133, 5.5 o/u)
The Nashville Predators (39-25-13, 91 pts) are close to sealing one of the wildcard spots in the Western Conference, but tonight’s matchup could be one of the biggest challenges they have faced in recent weeks, when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins (43-25-8, 94 pts), at the CONSOL Energy Center, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (7 PM Eastern).
Nashville is currently sitting in the first wildcard seed with 91 points in 77 games; with five games remaining, it would take a debacle for them to be caught by the Colorado Avalanche, who has 82 points. However, their seeding can change if Minnesota keeps winning as they trail the Predators by just four points.
The Predators had five wins in a span of six games before losing their last two in a row. Defeats against Colorado and Dallas prevented them from punching a playoffs ticket once and for all.
“We’ve had two games where we had a chance to clinch a playoff spot and couldn’t do it,” said Predators goalie Pekka Rinne to the Associated Press. “So we just have to go to Pittsburgh and hopefully, get it done [Thursday].”
Pittsburgh is currently on an impressive run that needs to be noticed. Since March 11 they have won nine of the last ten, only inexplicably losing to the New Jersey Devils (3-0) in that span. They have outscored opponents 37-22 in their current winning run, including a shootout victory over the Buffalo Sabres in their last outing on Tuesday.
Nashville and Pittsburgh met once this season, back in October when the Penguins ended as 2-1 winners on the road. Pittsburgh is 7-2-0-1 in their last ten against the Predators, scoring 3.1 goals per game while allowing just 2.1.
The betting trends say Pittsburgh is 6-1 SU in its last seven games when playing Nashville, and with the momentum going their way, taking the Penguins become a no-brainer.
(Photo Credit: Dan4th Nicholas (Flickr https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)