For many years the Nashville Predators were known for their stout defense and goaltending which catapulted them to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. Since that time the Predators have declined on the back end and between the pipes. Ironically enough it has been increased goal scoring that has kept Nashville in the status of being a bona fide playoff team, though much more inconsistent than at the height of their glory. The Arizona Coyotes got off to a strong start through the first two months of the season and held their own until January when their lack of skill and goal scoring caught up with them. Now comes the shocking news that Arizona general manager John Chayka quit on the team due to a dispute with the new ownership structure.
Western Conference Best of Five Preliminary Round Schedule and Odds
(6) Nashville Predators vs. (11) Arizona Coyotes
NHL Betting Odds at Bookmaker.eu: Coyotes +115 vs. Predators -131
Hub City Location: Rogers Place, Edmonton, Alberta
Sunday, August 2: 2 p.m. ET, USA Network
Tuesday, August 4: 2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Wednesday, August 5: 2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Friday, August 7: TBD, (if necessary)
Sunday, August 9: TBD, (if necessary)
(6) Nashville Predators vs. (11) Arizona Coyotes Wagering Odds Analysis
Gamblers have shown an NHL betting preference for the Predators based on their superior body of work during the regular season. Arizona’s two-month slump before the play stoppage left a bad taste in the mouth of many who bet on NHL games.
Nashville Predators Overview
Sixth place Nashville has a record of 35-26-8 and was playing their best hockey of the year when play suspended. The Predators were 11-7-1 before the break.
Nashville Predators Key Players
Defenseman Roman Josi was a top asset for the Predators this season. Josi has 16 goals, 49 assists, four power play goals, 19 power play assists with a +22. Center Filip Forsberg has added 21 goals, 27 assists, seven power play goals, seven power play assists and a -7.
Nashville Predators Goaltending
Juuse Saros and veteran mainstay Pekka Rinne split time in goal for Nashville. Saros was 17-12-4 with a 2.70 goals against average, .914 save percentage, and four shutouts. Rinne was 18-14-4 with a 3.17 goals against average, .895 save percentage, and three shutouts.
Arizona Coyotes Overview
Arizona is 11th in the West with a record of 33-29-8. The Coyotes were 11-13-4 in the last three months before play was stopped. Arizona has NHL metrics of 23rd for goal scoring, 18th for the power play, third for goals against, and fifth for the penalty kill. The departure of Chayka is a major development. The former general manager had a key role in building the current Arizona roster. Most important of all is that respected head coach Rick Tocchet remains firmly ensconced behind the Coyotes bench.
Arizona Coyotes Key Players
Center Nick Schmaltz leads the Coyotes with 11 goals, 34 assists, and 11 power play assists with a +3. Defenseman Alex Goligoski has four goals, 28 assists, nine power play assists and a +8.
Arizona Coyotes Goaltending
Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper are the Coyotes goaltending tandem. Raanta is 15-14-3 with a 2.63 goals against average, .921 save percentage, and two shutouts. Kuemper is 16-11-2 with a 2.22 goals against average, .928 save percentage, and two shutouts.
Nashville Predators vs. Arizona Coyotes Free Picks
Arizona makes for a strong contrarian pick here. The Coyotes are one of the NHL’s top defensive teams and now have a rallying cry with the departure of their general manager. Nashville lacks the defense for sustained playoff success. Further, skill and offense may show rust after four months off.
Predators vs. Coyotes NHL Series Odds Best Bet: Arizona Coyotes
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