Friday NHL Playoffs Odds & Picks: Hurricanes vs. Predators Game 3 Betting Preview (May 21)

Friday NHL Playoffs Odds & Picks: Hurricanes vs. Predators Game 3 Betting Preview (May 21) article feature image

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros.

  • The Carolina Hurricanes tout a 2-0 lead in their NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 series against the Nashville Predators. as the series shifts to Nashville, TN for Game 3 vs. Predators
  • Now, the series moves to Nashville, TN for Game 3, where the Predators and the Nashville fanbase hopes to mount a stand against the top-seeded Hurricanes.
  • NHL betting analyst Mike Ianniello shares his Game 3 analysis below, including updated odds and his pick for Hurricanes vs. Predators Game 3.

Hurricanes vs. Predators Odds

Hurricanes Odds-135
Predators Odds+110
Over/Under5.5 (+115 / -140)
TimeFriday, 7 p.m. ET
Odds updated Friday afternoon via BetMGM.

My biggest takeaway from the first two games between the Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators is that fans are back. PNC Arena in downtown Raleigh was absolutely rocking with 12,000 fans — the largest NHL crowd of the season — and helped power the Hurricanes to a 2-0 lead.

The series now shifts to Nashville, where the Predators will welcome 12,135 supporters inside Bridgestone Arena on Friday to try and match the energy of the Carolina faithful.

Top-seeded Carolina has been dominant, outscoring Nashville by an 8-2 margin and has gotten at least one point from 12 players. Will the Hurricanes be able to run away with this series or will the Predators put up a fight back in their home arena? Let's take a look at this Game 3 showdown.

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Carolina Maintains Dominant Form in Postseason

After finishing the regular season at 36-12-8 with the NHL's third-best record and Central Division crown, the Hurricanes have shown they have one of the deepest forward groups in the league. Needless to say , Carolina used that advantage up front to handle the Predators through the first two games.

Carolina’s top two lines have totally controlled play against Nashville. Warren Foegele, Jordan Staal and Jesper Fast have skated to a xGoals% of 76.9% advantage, plus Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov have played to a 70% xGoals percentage.

Expected goals (also known as xG) is a predictive statistic that gives an indication of whether results are based on sustainable factors like a steady creation of scoring chances, or whether it is down to aspects such as shooting luck or outstanding goaltending.

Simply put, an expected goals rate (xGF%) above 50% is considered good because it means a team is creating the majority of the scoring chances. Anything below 50% is usually a sign that a team is struggling to control play.

xG numbers and advanced stats cited from Evolving Hockey, MoneyPuck and Natural Stat Trick.

Aho and Svechnikov are fourth and fifth among all skaters in the playoffs in expected goals. Svechnikov was the best player on the ice in Game 1, with Aho the top player on the Game 2 victory.

After leading the Charlotte Checkers to the 2019 Calder Cup Championship, goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic made his Stanley Cup playoff debut and earned his first win in the opener. He followed that effort with his first playoff shutout in the second game.

In the regular season, Nedeljkovic led all NHL regulars with a .932 save percentage and 1.90 goals against average. Through two playoff games, he has .964 save percentage and 1.00 goals against average.

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Nashville Predators

The Predators finished the season scorching hot, going 20-7-1 in second half of the season to fight their way into the playoffs. Nashville was largely successful on the back of their goaltender Juuse Saros.

Over his last 26 games, Saros was outstanding and racked up an 18-7-1 record, with a .940 save percentage and three shutouts. He had 14.29 GSAx, which is the most in the league over that time.

In addition to Saros, the Predators are also led by captain and reigning Norris Trophy winner Roman Josi. The defenseman led the team with 33 points in 48 games. The Nashville offense was below average this season, and its inability to score has plagued it in the first two games.

Filip Forsberg missed a lot of time, but had a good season, posting 32 points in 29 games. However, other big names like Ryan Johansen (22 points) and Matt Duchene (13 points) struggled throughout the campaign.

Despite getting outplayed by a 1.89-1.10 margin in excepted goals at 5-on-5 in Game 1, it was actually Nashville that had the advantage in Game 2, playing to a 1.38-1.31 xG rate. The Predators also had an 8-5 edge in High Danger Scoring Chances in the second meeting.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Carolina is clearly the better team, and I don’t think Nashville has much of a chance of coming back to win this series. However, can the Predators win a game or two? I think so, and this is a great spot to fight back as they return home to Bridgestone Arena.

The hockey world learned during its 2017 run to the Stanley Cup Finals that Nashville is one of the best hockey markets in North America, and that fan base gets loud and wild for the Predators.

It's easy to see an 8-2 scoring margin in Carolina’s favor and feel like it has dominated. Yet, when you look at when the goals came, the Hurricanes have outscored the Predators just 3-2 in the first and second periods.

Bottom line, the Predators have just run out of gas in the third periods, with Carolina pulling away once its foes need to play desperate and get away from their style of hockey.

We saw how much the crowds seemed to energize the Hurricanes, and I think the Nashville fans will do the same. They should give the Predators the boost they need to carry them through the third period. Saros went 15-3 at home this season, boasting a .941 save percentage and 1.86 goals against average.

Saros is as capable as any goaltender when it comes to stealing a game, so I will back him and Nashville to rebound with a victory at +120 odds or better.

Pick: Predators ML (+120)

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