The Phoenix Coyotes travel to Bridgestone Arena this Wednesday night looking to take a commanding lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference matchup against the Nashville Predators with a victory in Game 3. This semifinals showdown is slated for a 6 p.m. (PT) start and the game will be broadcast nationally on CNBC.
Series Outlook- Phoenix Coyotes
The betting public did not think Phoenix would get past Chicago in the first round of these playoffs as a series underdog but it sent the Blackhawks packing in six games. The Coyotes came into this series as +150 series underdogs but after a 4-3 overtime win in Game 1 followed by an impressive 5-3 victory in Game 2 as home underdogs in both, they appear to be onto something. Phoenix now has a 5-1 record in its last six playoff games while outscoring its opponent by a combined score of 20-12.
With that being said, NHL odds boards still list the Coyotes as the betting underdogs in tonight's Game 3. While Nashville might have the home ice advantage on their side now, should hockey bettors let this deter them from siding with the Coyotes with their NHL picks tonight?
Center Antoine Vermette has been the team’s leading scorer in the postseason with five goals and three assists but it have been players such as Radim Vrbata, Ray Whitney and Taylor Pyatt that are making a name for themselves in this series. Vrbata has tallied two goals and an assist and Whitney and Pyatt have each scored the game winner to build the 2-0 lead. Another huge reason that the Coyotes are inching closer to the conference finals has been the continued strong play of goalie Mike Smith. He now has a 2.02 goals-against-average and a .943 save percentage through eight playoff games.
Series Outlook-Nashville Predators
Things have suddenly gone from bad to worse for Nashville with the announcement that it has suspended Alexander Rudalov and Andrei Kostitsyn for Game 3 for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Both these players have had a huge impact in the postseason with a combined 10 points in seven playoff games. Look for center David Legwand and rookie forward Gabriel Bourque to try a pick up the slack in their absence. These two have combined for five goals and three assists in the playoffs.
Another concern heading into Wednesday night’s game has to be the play of goalie Pekka Rinne. After giving-up a total of nine goals in five games against the Red Wings, he has been tagged for nine goals in the first two games of this series for a save percentage of just .857.
Series Betting Trends
The Coyotes are now 11-2 in their last 13 games overall and 8-2 in their last 10 games following a win. The total has stayed UNDER in eight of their last 14 games.
The Predators are 46-20 in their last 66 games as favorites and 37-15 in their last 52 games as favorites at home. The total has stayed UNDER in three of their last five home games.
The road team is 6-2 in the last eight meetings and the total has stayed UNDER in nine of the last 14 meetings in Nashville. Phoenix is 5-11-1 in its last 17 road games against the Predators.
Despite the loss of Rudalov and Kostitsyn for Wednesday night, look for Rinne to return to form and the rest of team to rally around the energy of the home-town crowd to pull-out a win. Nashville 3 Phoenix 2