NHL Odds and Prediction: Predators vs. Coyotes (April 29)
John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images. Pictured: Tanner Jeannot (No. 84) and Filip Forsberg.
- The Coyotes are heavy home underdogs in their final game of the year against the Predators.
- With both teams having little to play for, is there value on the Coyotes to pull the upset?
- Greg Liodice breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Predators vs. Coyotes Odds
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NHL Odds here.|
In the final scheduled game of the NHL season, the Arizona Coyotes will host the playoff-bound Nashville Predators. These teams haven’t played each other since January, but the Predators have taken both meetings so far. They will look to sweep the season series Friday night.
The Predators recently clinched a playoff spot on Tuesday in an overtime loss to Calgary. They haven’t been playing encouraging hockey recently as they’ve gone 4-3-3 in their last 10, so they better hope the playoffs are a new lease on life for them.
The Coyotes have performed just about as well as anyone expected them to play this year. Having tied for the worst record in the league, Arizona is simply prepping for the offseason and evaluating what it has in its current roster.
Predators Led by Their Resurgent Offense
The Predators certainly surprised many people over this past season with quality production from several key players. Captain Roman Josi is having a historic season for a defenseman with 95 points, while both Matt Duchene and Filip Forsberg netted 40 goals for the first time in their careers. Ryan Johansen has also had a resurgence after a few disappointing seasons.
After it was once considered a weakness, the Preds turned their offense into a massive strength. With firepower on both ends of the puck, they score 3.18 goals per game with an average 50 xGF% (Expected Goals For). They have capitalized on their high danger chances, which includes having an elite fifth-ranked Power Play – scoring 24.6% of the time.
Historically, Nashville has built a reputation as one of the top defensive teams in the league. However with this season’s offensive surge, the defense has been sacrificed a bit and has allowed just over three goals per game. Though the Predators have managed to limit high danger goals, their Penalty Kill needs to be better with just a 78.9% success rate.
Juuse Saros won’t be playing tonight as they rest him for the playoffs, so youngster Connor Ingram likely gets the start in this game. Ingram hasn’t seen a whole lot of NHL action, and in his two starts, he’s posted a .906 SV% with a -0.3 GSAx (Goals Saved Above Expected).
Coyotes Struggling to the Finish Line
The Coyotes have been battered with injuries, but it’s not like it has mattered since they have played poorly regardless. They’ll be missing Clayton Keller, Lawson Crouse, Jakob Chychrun, and Christian Fischer, along with a few other depth pieces. In the meantime, they’ll be relying on Nick Schmaltz, Phil Kessel, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Travis Boyd to pick up the slack.
The Coyotes rank near or at the bottom in all offensive categories. They’re destined to place last in goals scored per game (2.48) and Expected Goals (41.21 xGF%). While they’re a bit better at scoring High Danger Goals (22nd), their Power Play is abysmal, as they only score at a 14.07% clip.
Unfortunately, the defense from the Yotes isn’t much better. They allow a third-worst 3.79 goals per game, as well as the second-most High Danger Goals. The Penalty Kill has also been a struggle, as they fight off the Power Play successfully just 74.8% of the time.
Karel Vejmelka is expected to make the start tonight since Harri Sateri started on Wednesday. Vejmelka has managed to do fine this season, given his circumstances as an Arizona netminder. With the Yotes in a full rebuilding year, goaltender numbers can fluctuate substantially, and that has been the case for the Czech native. He’s posting a .900 SV% and a -19.7 GSAx for the year.
Predators vs. Coyotes Pick
Games like these are almost impossible to predict as both teams have nothing to gain nor lose. It’s just one last game to fill the schedule – which means there is more potential for upsets. However, I don’t love that angle in this matchup.
The Predators are coming off a solid win in Colorado, which could help build confidence heading into May. While the Coyotes have had a terrible season, they’ve also snuck a few upsets in. The Preds have been a solid road team with a record of 20-15-5, while the Yotes actually are worse at home than on the road with a 10-27-2 record.
All in all, I think talent wins in this final battle of the season and see the Predators coming out victorious by multiple goals.
Pick: Nashville Predators -1.5 (-115)
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