Carolina Hurricanes (39-12-10) at Nashville Predators (33-25-3)
The Predators had won two in a row before losing the last game of this playoff series and they need a home win in this game to force a Game 7. This game can be seen on NBCSC.
(This Thursday game preview was posted on Wednesday with odds not out yet, but they will be posted soon).
The Hurricanes not only have a 3-2 lead in this series but they won Game 5 at home in a 3-2 overtime thriller. The team had given up nine goals in losing the previous two games before playing better D in their last game only allowing two goals.
Nashville dropped Game 5 in OT and in the three losses in the series have allowed 11 goals. The team’s attack was solid in the previous two games but they need to get back to playing well on the defensive side of the ice, as on the season they have only averaged 2.65 goals per game.
The last three games of this series have all gone to overtime and both of the games in Nashville went to double-overtime.
The Canes have dropped their last four road games against the Predators.
Playoff Leader Comes Through Big Time
In the 3-2 OT win in Game 5 Carolina’s Jordan Staal, who leads the team with four goals in the playoffs, played the hero scoring the game-winning goal 1:44 into overtime. In the win Martin Necas scored twice once on the power play in the first period and then the game-tying goal in the third period.
In Game 5 Alex Nedeljkovic (15-5-3 1.90 GAA) stopped 23 of 25 shots and he has started every game in the playoffs. He had given up nine goals in his previous two starts and this season led the league in GAA. I would think he would get the call again but James Reimer (15-5-2 2.66 GAA) may get the nod and in his last start of the season only gave up one goal.
The defense was solid for Carolina in the last game and they have won 21 of their last 29 games after holding their opponent to two or fewer goals in their previous game.
Canes’ star Sebastian Aho led the team in goals and points on the season and after scoring three goals and having two assists in Games 2 and 3 he has failed to register a point in the last two games.
Staal leads the team with four goals and an assist in this series.
Nashville is back at home in this elimination game and in this series the home team has won every game. The club is hoping home cooking does the trick, as in the two wins at home in this series they scored nine goals while in the three losses on the road they only totaled four goals.
In the loss in Game 5 Yakov Trenin scored twice in the losing effort for his first two goals of the series.
Juuse Saros (21-11-1 2.28 GAA) turned away 34 of 37 shots in the Game 5 loss
The Preds were outshot 37-25 in Game 5 and were 0/3 on the power play. While he gave up seven goals in the two wins previous to Game 5 both went to double OT where in the two he faced a whopping 117 shots. He has started every game in this series and facing elimination I would be surprised if he does not start in Game 6. If he does not Pekka Rinne (10-12-1 2.84 GAA) will go and he had a shutout in his last start of the regular season.
Ryan Ellis leads the Preds with four points (1 goal 3 assists) in this series and four players have scored two goals.
Nashville has won 13 of their last 16 home games and they have won their last four games on home ice facing the Hurricanes. I look for those trends to continue in this game and in the series the home team has won every game. The Predators will get back to playing solid defense and in yet another close game Nashville will come out on top staying alive in this series and forcing a Game 7.