Game 1 of the first round playoff series between the Detroit Red Wings and the Nashville Predators was a classic, with a 3-2 edge ultimately going to the Preds. Game 2 will be contested on the NHL betting odds on Friday night back in the Music City.
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Ultimately, the Red Wings just didn’t have the oomph on the road to get the job done in the first game of the playoffs. That is a disturbing trend that is now carrying over from the regular season in which Detroit still has just 17 road wins to show for its 42 games on the road this year. The team was sloppy in the early periods, taking far too many penalties. The eight PIMs in the first period didn’t ultimately cost the Red Wings, but even after killing off a 5-on-3 for well over a minute at the end of the period, they just never felt like they were in total control of the game. The good news for Detroit is that it did score a pair of power play goals in Game 1, but in the end, the team had plenty of chances on some careless Nashville penalties down the stretch, and it was just never able to find that last goal to get the job done. The Red Wings also have to find a way to get off to a better start offensively on Friday to pull the upset and level this series. They had just five shots in the first period on Wednesday night, though they did have a total of 32 in the final two periods.
Every time we look back at this Nashville team, we just keep trying to figure out how it gets the job done. There is no question that the Red Wings have the more talented side at seemingly every position, but the Preds just have the better team chemistry. They survived an onslaught of shots in the second and third periods, and though he flashed some signs of weakness, Pekka Rinne had nerves of steel in the final few minutes of the game and was able to fend off 35 of the 37 shots that he faced against one of the most efficient offenses in the league. Of all of the players on the Predators that you would figure to be scoring two goals in the first game of the playoffs, Gabriel Bourque probably wouldn’t have been the first to come to mind. He had just seven goals and 19 total points in 43 games this season, but the young 21-year old had the game of his life on Wednesday, scoring the second and third Nashville goals to give the team a 1-0 edge in the series.
Detroit Red Wings @ Nashville Predators Pick: We said that the Red Wings were in big trouble on the road on Wednesday night, and we see no reason that that is going to change on Friday. Like we have already said, Nashville just keeps finding ways to win games against teams that seem to be more talented than it is, but in the end, it just doesn’t give up or yield. Detroit keeps finding ways to lose games on the road, and this should be no exception.
Free Hockey Pick: Nashville Predators -125
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.