You can make a case that the best two teams remaining in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs are the Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets. Unfortunately, one of the two is not even going to make it to the conference final. The Jets are listed as slight favorites at home in this Game 4 matchup on Thursday night that can be seen on NBCSN. Let’s look at the contest and NHL Playoff picks.
At 9:30 p.m. ET, tune into NBCSN for live television coverage of this NHL game on Thursday, May 3, 2018, at Bell MTS Place.
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One interesting note about this game is that it will start an hour and a half later than Game 3. That should give a little bit of an edge to Winnipeg, as they are used to the later start times. The Predators were one of the best road teams in the NHL during the regular season, but Winnipeg was one of the top home teams. Nashville was 25-16 on the road in the regular season, with 19 games going over, 21 going under, with one push. Nashville is scoring 3.2 goals per game and giving up 2.5 per contest. The Predators tied Tampa for the most road wins in the NHL during the regular season.
The Jets were a superb 32-9 at home during the regular season, with 24 games going over, 15 going under, with two pushes. They average 3.3 goals per game and give up 2.6 per contest. The led the NHL in home wins this season, but their last home loss before Game 3 was a 6-5 loss to Nashville in late February.
The Predators are just barely above average on the power play at 13th in the league, while they are 6th in penalty killing. The Jets are a solid team all the way around including on special teams, as they are 5th in the league on the power play and 9th in penalty killing.
It is becoming clear that if the Predators are going to win this series they need Pekka Rinne to outplay Connor Hellebuyck. In the first two games of this series in Nashville that did not happen. The Jets look to have the better offense and the teams look very even defensively. If the Predators don’t get strong play out of Rinne they could be in real trouble in this series because Winnipeg can outscore them and play solid defensively. Both Rinne and Hellebuyck are Vezina Trophy finalists and conventional wisdom has Rinne winning the award. Rinne needs to start showing championship form or the Jets are going to win this series.
These teams are very evenly matched and have split their last ten meetings, with six of the ten going over the total. The teams have also split their last ten in Winnipeg, with five games going over, four going under, with one push.
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If you haven’t been watching the Jets then you may not realize just how good this team is. They could have won both of the first two games in Nashville but ended up with a split. Nashville has proven to be a good road team this season, but Winnipeg has simply been unstoppable on home ice. They had won 12 straight at home before Game 3 of this series. As noted earlier, the Jets look to be better on offense, just as good on defense, and so far Hellebuyck has been just as good as Rinne. I think Winnipeg can win this series and to do so I think they need to win Game 4, so I will lay the price and take the Jets in this one.
NHL Odds: Jets 4, Predators 2
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