NHL Playoff Odds - Western Conference Finals Game 3 Preview


Never underestimate the heart of a veteran team. Already down 1-0 in the series and staring at a two-goal deficit in the first ten minutes of Game 2, the Anaheim Ducks responded in a big way. Anaheim tied the game with goals in the last minute of the first period and within the first 40 seconds of the second period and found a quick answer when the Nashville Predators broke the deadlock once again. The Ducks went on to win the game 5-3 and will attempt to take home ice back in Game 3 on Tuesday.

Don’t miss the action on the ice from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. Catch every moment of the game live on NBCSN. We will have NHL playoff hockey odds at BookMaker.eu for every postseason game.

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The Ducks have tallied at least five goals once every series thus far and found the answer to beating Pekka Rinne on Sunday night. Anaheim crowded the net with bodies and made Rinne have to try to pick up the puck through a sea of traffic all night. He was clearly flustered, making poor decisions that he hadn’t made this entire postseason, and it gave the Ducks the game despite just 27 shots on goal.

Player to Watch

How will Rinne bounce back from this performance? Rinne was talked about as a Conn Smythe pick provided the Predators made it to the Stanley Cup with as well as he has played, but looked awful throughout Game 2 on Sunday night. Rinne just looked off all night long and even seemed to move out of the way of what proved to be the game-winning goal, a puck that came in at a weird angle.

His defense played pretty well in front of him despite the five goals allowed. The Ducks didn’t have a lot of breakaways or odd-man chances, but just put pucks on net that Rinne couldn’t stop. Anaheim is going to try to use the same formula in Game 3 and crowd the net, but Rinne should be ready on home ice.

Matchup to Watch

Ryan Kesler has always had a knack for aggravating opponents and it’s clear that he is getting under the skin some of Nashville’s young guns. Kesler has always played on that razor’s edge of fair and foul play, notorious for little cheap shots here and there as well as diving in order to pick up a penalty for his team. He is a quality two-way player that is a good backchecker and that coupled with his antagonistic attitude makes him one of those guys you hate to see across the ice.

How Nashville’s young forwards like Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg respond to this will be interesting. Johansen already voiced his displeasure with Kesler after Game 2 was finished and seemed ready to do something about it. Keep an eye out for these two in Game 3.

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Ryan Getzlaf may be getting old, but he can still be a force to be reckoned with. Getzlaf hadn’t scored a point in his last three games and then was the table-setter in Game 2. He tallied three assists on the night and ran his point total up to 18 this postseason, just one behind the leader Evgeni Malkin.

The Predators have now outshot the Ducks two games in a row and look like the better side overall. If Rinne had a typical game, the Predators would have gotten out of southern California with a win and a 2-0 series lead, but his struggles put the team on the same level as the Ducks. Nashville should respond with a convincing win in Game 3 with Rinne looking like the force that he has been.

NHL Playoff Odds: Predators 3, Ducks 1

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