Nightghost walks us through everything we need to watch for in the Nashville Predators vs. Arizona Coyotes play-in series!
I will preface this series by saying that it will be a series that you guys will lose interest in. This series will be the most boring of the series that we put money on, and it will be the series we may wind up betting the most on.
This series should be short, four games at most in my opinion. It will be low scoring. We will see a 4-1 type game 1, a 3-2 type game two, a win to make it a 2-1 series, and then a 5-2 close out game in game four. We will see Pekka Rinne vs Darcy Kuemper in net for Arizona, and both goalies have played well against their opponent over the last 2.5 years. Rinne comes in winning his only matchup against Arizona this season, a 2.35 GAA in 2018, and a 1.92 GAA Arizona in 2017. This Arizona team however looks different than it has in prior years. Phil Kessel was brought in this year for Alex Galchenyuk who later became Jason Zucker, and they added Taylor Hall which was not a surprise for me because it was the least relevant team the Devils could have traded him to.
I was not big on Arizona coming into the season. I projected them to miss the playoffs and with 12 games left they sat 4 points out of a Wild Card spot but also sat behind three other teams. I find Arizona’s place in the standings to be more of a tell that teams like Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, and Minnesota sit are having better than expected years and Arizona sits behind all of them. For this many teams to be having betting than expected years and Arizona to be sitting this far out makes me view this team as a weak suitor coming into a matchup with a Predators team that frankly doesn’t deserve to be here either. The only thing that Nashville consistently has done this season is play streaky. Nashville was a team that I expected to be a contender for the Presidents Trophy this year. All they have shown so far is that they look to be a one and done team this year.
I think Nashville has the edge in every aspect here. You could argue that Arizona is better defensively but I don’t see the edge in numbers being big enough when you look at the teams as a whole. Arizona may have been better defensively during the regular season in terms of goals against on the year and goals per game, but Nashville’s defensive depth with their offensive abilities makes them the dual threat that Arizona’s D won’t be able to match.
These two played twice during the regular season, both games with each other’s backup in net. In game 1 Arizona put a 5-2 licking on Juuse Saros. It was not pretty, I went back and watched most of both games. The next game Nashville game out strong and explosive like I expect this veteran team to do in Game 1. In the regular season rematch Nashville came out to a two goal lead and a 31-10 shot lead halfway through the game. Nashville’s experience will give them the edge in this series. They are much better offensively than Arizona and much more experienced for a series like this. I expect Nashville to take a 2-0 series lead where we will be betting them on the money line. I expect Arizona to get one win with Rinne having an off game trying to close the series out. I then expect Nashville to come out game four and end it early and often. We will be putting 5 units on the Nashville series here and playing the games accordingly.