NHL Odds and Picks: Nashville Predators at Detroit Red Wings Game 4 Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 4/17/2012
If you like upsets, these Stanley Cup playoffs have been terrific so far. The two odds-on favorites to hoist the Cup entering the postseason were the Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins. And they both find themselves down 3-0 and needing a win on the road Wednesday to keep their seasons alive.
But I would argue that Nashville’s 2-1 series led over Detroit is almost as surprising as those would-be upsets. Yes, the fourth-seeded Predators finished with 104 points and two points ahead of the No. 5 Wings in the Central Division, but these are the Detroit Red Wings we are talking about; No team has more playoff experience. Nashville has advanced past the quarterfinal round just once and had never won a playoff game at Joe Louis Arena before taking Game 3, 3-2. Nashville was winless on the road against Detroit in 2004 and 2008, the two other times these franchises faced each other in the postseason.
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So now the Wings face a must-win at the Joe on Tuesday night in Game 4. Here are some NHL betting predictions for this critical game:
Predators at Red Wings Betting Story Lines
Maybe Detroit actually needs to shoot less to have a chance to beat Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. He made 41 saves in Game 3 and was 5-0-2 with a 1.66 goals-against average and .958 save percentage in the seven games in the regular season in which he faced 40 or more shots on goal, including a win over the Red Wings in Nashville on Dec. 15.
The Predators were outshot by a whopping 19-4 margin in the third period of Game 3 after Detroit was held to 17 total shots in Game 2. Rinne’s 73 games played were the second most in the league during the season, and no goalie won more games, faced more shots or made more saves this season than Rinne.
Defenseman Shea Weber was terrific for Nashville, although he probably should have been suspended for a few games after he slammed Henrik Zetterberg’s head into the glass at the end of Game 1. Instead Weber was only fined $2,500. NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan admitted he considered suspending Weber. He played 27:06 in Game 3, more than any other player, and had the lone Nashville power-play goal for a 1-0 lead. He led the Predators with four shots on goal, tied for the lead with three blocked shots and tied for second with three hits.
Predators coach Barry Trotz made a lineup change that might not have looked like much in the box score but was key in Game 3. After being a healthy scratch the first two games, rookie defenseman Ryan Ellis saw the ice in Game 3 in large part to boost a power play that was 0-for-12 in the first two games after ranking No. 1 in the NHL during the regular season with a 22 percent conversion rate. Ellis had just 7:50 of ice time, including 2:32 of power-play time, but was on the ice long enough to dish out three hits, as many or more than were delivered by every Red Wings player other than Ian White. And Nashville did find the net once in four power-play opportunities.
The Red Wings need to play with more discipline. Detroit had another six penalties in Game 3 to grow their playoff total to 20 in three games. The Wings were the second-least penalized team in the NHL during the regular season. Forward Johan Franzen’s four minor penalties lead the playoffs. The Red Wings had killed their last 37 penalties before Nashville’s PP goal. The Predators have had a two-man power play every game, totaling 2:07 of playing time.
It’s not yet clear if the Predators will have defenseman Hal Gill back for Game 4. He has been scratched from the first three games with a lower-body injury. Gill, a trade deadline acquisition, led the team in the regular season with 161 blocks.
Predators at Red Wings Betting Odds and Key Trends
Detroit is a -165 favorite with the total at 5.0 on NHL odds (Wings were -145 in Game 3). Nashville is 5-1 in its past six games when its opponent scores two goals or less in the previous game. The Red Wings have won just two of their past 14 games vs. teams with a winning record. They are 1-11 in their past 12 games against an opponent that allowed two goals or fewer in its previous game. The under is 0-11 in Nashville’s past 11 conference quarterfinal games. But the over hasn’t hit once in Detroit’s past eight games overall. The under is 3-0-4 in the past seven meetings between these teams. Nashville has now won four of the past five meetings overall.
Predators at Red Wings Betting Prediction
One could argue that the team that has played better in the first three games of this series has lost each game. The Wings outshot the Preds 43-22 in Game 3, but Rinne stood on his head. And clearly the Preds aren’t intimidated at Joe Louis Arena any longer – they also won there 4-1 at the end of March. However, it’s hard to imagine the Wings dropping back-to-back games at home, where they won an NHL-high 31 games this season and set a record with 23 straight home victories. Take the Wings and the under.
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