Western Conference foes will be set to do battle on the NHL betting odds, as the slumping Nashville Predators try to get the best of the Dallas Stars.
Dallas has some major problems right now in net. The team could have any one of three goalies in the pipes on Monday night. G Kari Lehtonen still has a groin injury that has kept him out of the fold for the last 10 games. Since that point, G Cristopher Nilstrop and G Richard Bachman have been splitting duties, and neither has been effective. The goalies have allowed a total of 12 goals in basically 12 periods of action, and that isn’t going to get the job done. Fortunately, the offense for the Stars really has picked it up. They have scored at least three goals in nine straight games, a far cry from the team that wasn’t even averaging two goals per game over the course of their first nine games of the season. It has been a dramatic shift and turnaround for a club that really needed it in the rough and tumble Pacific Division, where there really isn’t a night off.
Meanwhile, the Predators have a significantly different problem at the moment. They haven’t scored a goal in two full games, and they are now down to averaging 1.0 goals per game in the second and third periods combined this year. The franchise record for the longest amount of time without a goal is 176:18, meaning a third straight shutout in this one would ultimately break the record. That type of product is just downright bad, especially when you consider the fact that the team ranks dead last in the NHL in shot production at 24.2 shots per game. The only thing that has been keeping this team up this season has been the play of G Pekka Rinne. Rinne has literally been a stud in the pipes for Nashville, posting a 7-5-4 record with a 1.77 GAA and a .931 save percentage. He did play both ends of the back-to-back over the weekend though, and if Lehtonen doesn’t end up playing, there is a chance that he could be put on the bench.
Check the starting goalie situation very closely in this one. We’re going to make the assumption that Lehtonen isn’t playing and Rinne is, and if that’s the case, this isn’t a fair fight. The Predators are going to get their chances, and they’re going to score goals if they are playing against a backup goalie that probably shouldn’t be playing in the NHL, and their defense should put up a decent fight regardless. If Lehtonen is in and Rinne is out, the story flips in our eyes, but for now, we think that laying the lumber with the Predators is the best bet.
Dallas Stars @ Nashville Predators Pick: Nashville Predators