Hurricanes vs. Predators Game 6 Odds, Pick & Prediction: How to Back Nashville in Must-Win Matchup (May 27)
John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Juuse Saros.
- The Carolina Hurricanes will travel to Tennessee on Thursday night to take on the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of their NHL playoff series.
- The home team is 5-0 in this series, and Mike Ianniello thinks that trend will continue in Game 6.
- Check out Ianniello's full betting breakdown complete with updated odds, a pick, and a prediction below.
Hurricanes vs. Predators Odds
With incredible atmospheres for the first five games of the Stanley Cup playoffs, home fans have been the difference in this series, as home teams are 5-0 so far.
Carolina won the first two games of the series, just for Nashville to return home and win the next two games to even things up at two. Carolina came away with a 3-2 overtime win in Game 5, the third straight overtime game.
Nashville now finds itself on the brink of elimination but also back in the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena.
Staal Getting It Done for Carolina
The Hurricanes have outplayed the Predators to a 57.9 xGF% through the first five games of this series. The Canes have outshot the Preds and have had an xGF% of 50% in every single game.
One of the deepest teams in the NHL, Carolina has gotten points from 15 skaters this series. With all the young stars on this team, it has actually been 32-year-old Jordan Staal who leads the team with four goals and five points in five games. The captain also scored the overtime winner in Game 4.
Carolina’s top three lines have all skated to an xGoals% over 60% with the Staal, Warren Foegele and Jesper Fast line dominating at 72.5%, the fourth-highest mark of all lines during the playoffs.
The Hurricanes got a huge jolt in Game 6 with the return of defenseman Jaccob Slavin to the lineup. After missing the last three games with a lower-body injury, he led the game in ice time.
Slavin has developed into one of the best defensemen in the league, and the Canes’ top D-pairing of him and Dougie Hamilton has played to a 68.2 xGoals%, this second-highest among all defensive pairings.
Head coach Rod Brind’Amour has been very vocal about the officiating during this series, as his team has been forced to play shorthanded more than any team in the playoffs. Nashville’s 22 power-play opportunities are the most of any team.
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.
Saros Continues to Save Preds
The Juuse is loose for the Predators as goaltender Juuse Saros has been the reason Nashville remains in this series and is the reason it made the postseason altogether.
Saros was spectacular down the stretch to get Nashville into playoff position, going 18-7-1 with a .940 save percentage and three shutouts over the last 26 games of the season. He had 14.29 GSAx, which was the most in the league over that time.
While Carolina has gotten points from 15 skaters because it boasta such a deep group with high-end skill, Nashville has also gotten points from 15 players.
But for the Preds, it feels more like the lack of top-tier talent that forces them to rely on the full group.
Guys like Luke Kunin and Yakov Trenin, who combined for just 15 total goals all season, have each tallied two-goal games this series. No player has more than two goals in the series, and defenseman Ryan Ellis leads the team with four points.
With the injury to Viktor Arvidsson, the Predators have moved Matt Duchene up to the top line alongside Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen, and the trio has skated to a 63.6 xGoals% — the only Nashville forward line above 50%.
The Nashville defensive corps continues to be strong with both top pairings of Josi/Carrier and Ekholm/Ellis each playing to over an xGoals% of over 50%. The four have combined for 12 of the Preds’ 36 points.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Maybe it’s because we haven’t seen fans in attendance at sporting events for so long that I am just so happy to see the energy and excitement of the crowds back for a hockey game. Maybe I’m overhyping it and overvaluing the impact it has.
That might be true, but at the end of the day, the home teams are 5-0 in this series, the crowds have been electric, and home ice has clearly had an impact.
Saros has been the difference for Nashville all year, and he has been dominant at home. He went 15-3 at home in the regular season, boasting a .941 save percentage and 1.86 goals against average. In two games at Bridgestone Arena this postseason, Saros is 2-0 with a .940 save percentage and became just the second goaltender in NHL history with 50+ saves in consecutive playoff games.
This series has had three straight games go into overtime. I feel like when a unit needs more than 60 minutes to decide a winner, both teams have a fairly even chance at winning a sudden-death frame. It just takes one shot, one lucky bounce, one mistake by the opponent.
The two games in Nashville needed double overtime and were even more of a coin flip. The Predators won both.
Well, the odds do not reflect that here, as Nashville still sits around +130 as it returns home again.
Bridgestone Arena is allowing 2,000 more fans on Thursday night for over 14,000 total. That place is going to be a scene with the Predators facing elimination. They’ve got Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban in the crowd with Taylor Lewan chugging beers to get the fans going. It’s one of the best atmospheres in the league.
I am buying into the home-ice advantage and Saros being capable of stealing another game to force a Game 7. I like Nashville +130 and would play it down to +115.
Pick: Nashville Predators +130