Predators Face Must-Win Scenario
Now or never for Predators
The Toronto Maple Leafs rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to win the 1942 Stanley Cup final from the Detroit Red Wings. That's the only time it's ever happened since the final went to a best-of-seven format in 1939, so if you're the Nashville Predators, beating the Pittsburgh Penguins is Game 3 is of paramount importance. But is a rally in the Preds? We take a look at the possibilities, based on odds provided by Bovada.lv:
Already, the odds are stacking up against the Predators. Since the Stanley Cup final went to the best-of-seven format in 1939, teams that have taken a 2-0 series lead have gone on to capture the Stanley Cup 90 percent of the time, winning 45 of 50 series, including each of the past three instances - the Penguins last season and the Los Angeles Kings in 2014 and 2012.
Home teams have swept the opening two games of the Stanley Cup Final 37 times in that span, ultimately winning the championship 34 times, an even higher 91.9 percent success rate. But if you're a Preds backer looking for hope, two of those losses have come in the last eight years - in 2009 when Pittsburgh rallied to beat Detroit and in 2011 when Boston came back against Vancouver.
There's a lot that can be dissected from the first two games of this series, but there's one element that absolutely has to change if Nashville is to have any chance at all of a rally, and that, simply stated, is that Pekka Rinne must start stopping the puck.
Through two games, the Predators goalie is the owner of a dismal .777 save percentage. A team can overcome much adversity en route to victory, but bad goaltending is always a 100 percent cause for failure, especially when the guy at the other end is standing on his head.
Pittsburgh's Matt Murray stopped 37 of 38 shots in Game 2 and improved to 20-7 in his 28-game NHL playoff career. In Stanley Cup history only two goalies - Montreal’s Bill Durnan (26 games, 1944-47) and Patrick Roy (27 games, 1986-88) - got to the 20 win-mark faster.
The Penguins offense is proving too overpowering for the Preds and is coming from all sources. Rookie Jake Guentzel became the first rookie to score game winners in consecutive Cup final games since Boston's Roy Conacher in 1939. Chris Kunitz, looking for his fourth Stanley Cup, has assembled three straight multi-point games.
As Easy As 1-2-3
Looking for a different wager on Game 3 of the Cup final? Why not give Bovada's three-way moneyline wager a try.
As the title suggests, instead of a 50-50 straight bet on the game, this wager offers a trio of alternatives. You can play the Penguins to win at +170, or you can opt to go with a Nashville win at +110. The third option is a draw after 60 minutes of play - in other words, you are betting on the game to go to overtime.
If you play that wager, the odds are +315. And if you believe in omens, Pittsburgh has gone to OT twice in Game 3 of previous series this spring, while Nashville has done so once.
Pick: The Predators (-135) and the under (5.5.)
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