Incredibly enough last year the Nashville Predators made the Stanley Cup Final as Western Conference champions despite being the eighth and final seed in the West. This year they face the opposite potential irony. Having won the President’s Trophy as the best regular season team in the NHL the Predators are in peril of not getting out of the second round alive. Most costly was a game three 7-4 loss at Winnipeg in which the Preds blew a 3-0 lead. Nashville has been plagued by the inconsistent goaltending of Pekka Rinne. Just as important has been the strong play of the Winnipeg Jets.
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Winnipeg Jets vs. Nashville Predators Game 5
Date and Time: Saturday, May 5, 2018, 9:30 p.m. ET
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
NHL Odds at Betcris: Check Back Later
Jets vs. Predators TV Coverage: NBCSN
Nashville and Rinne came up clutch in game four at Winnipeg with a 2-1 win to even this best of seven series at two games apiece. Facing the prospect of falling behind 3-1 in the series Rinne mustered his most clutch game of the playoffs with 32 saves on 33 shots. Game six of this series will be at Winnipeg. Game seven will be at Nashville on date to be announced if necessary.
Winnipeg center Mathieu Perrault is questionable for Saturday with a shoulder injury. In the regular season he had 17 goals, 22 assists and a plus four. He has played in just one playoff game thus far.
Peter Laviolette has proven to be the perfect fit at the perfect time for the Predators. Nashville was always a strong defensive team under previous head coach Barry Trotz but was more often than not challenged offensively and an eyesore bore to watch. Laviolette has completely flipped that with a much more balanced approach. Goal scoring and entertainment has increased and without a sacrifice on the back end. Laviolette won a Stanley Cup in 2006 at Carolina and led both the Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators to the Stanley Cup Final.
Paul Maurice has come a long way since breaking into the NHL as a 28-year-old head coach with the Hartford Whalers. Maurice is still a comparatively young 51 years of age and is also the right fit at the right time in Winnipeg. Since taking over midway through the 2013-14 season Maurice has guided a young, deep, and talented roster into a Stanley Cup contender. Much like Laviolette, Maurice has a balanced team that plays a full 200-foot game.
Player to Watch
Nashville defenseman PK Subban is one of the most dynamic presences in the game. He is both physical and with strong offensive presence. Subban can make slick plays and also unleash a nuclear bomb of a slapshot.
Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck has been solid in the playoffs with a save percentage of .921 and two shutouts.
Preds netminder Pekka Rinne has a save percentage of .909 in the post season with one shutout.
The Jets and Predators have played a fairly even series with the Predators holding a slight edge by winning eight out of the last 14 meetings. Just five out of the last 17 games between these two teams have gone under the total. At Nashville the Predators advantage has been even stronger with 12 wins in their last 17 home games against Winnipeg. Six of the last nine matchups in this head to head series at Bridgestone Arena went under the total
Jets vs. Predators Free Picks
Nashville has one of the strongest home ice advantages in the NHL. With the stakes so high they make for a dangerous pick at Bridgestone Arena.
Jets vs. Predators Pick: Bet the Nashville Predators
Jets vs. Predators Score Prediction: Predators 4, Jets 1