The Pittsburgh Penguins enter Saturday’s Stanley Cup Finals game 3 against the Nashville Predators as road underdogs even though they took a 2-0 lead on Wednesday. The Pens scored three goals in three minutes – and two in 15 seconds – of the third period to defeat the Preds 4-1. Jake Guentzel scored his third goal of the series, as the rookie went from almost being a healthy scratch in game 1 to scoring two go-ahead goals (for five game-winning goals in the playoffs, the most by a rookie in league history) and leading the league with 12 postseason goals – the second most by a rookie in a single postseason. Matt Murray made 37 saves. Meanwhile, Nashville coach Peter Laviolette pulled Pekka Rinne after the goalie allowed four goals on 25 shots, as well as four on 11 in game 1.
Date: Saturday, 3rd June
Venue: Bridgestone Arena
Sportsbook Odds for Fans Who Bet on Hockey:
Penguins +1½ (-260) 5½ (+115) +115
Predators -1½ (+220) 5½ (-135) -135
Need-to-know info: Guentzel is not the only history-making rookie in the Pens’ roster. Murray is the third-fastest goalie in league history to rack up 20 career postseason games and is currently 6-2 all-time in the Stanley Cup Final – tied with Marc-Andre Fleury and one behind Tom Barrasso for most SCF wins in the history of the franchise. Murray faced a barrage of 32 shots in the first 40 minutes of game 2 play but only allowed one goal.
Trends for fans who bet on hockey: The Pens have won five of their last six games – ditto for their last six meetings with the Preds – but have only covered in one third of their last nine games and 20% of their last five road games, though they are 4-1 against the spread in their last five versus Nashville. The NHL betting total has gone over in 80% of the Penguins’ last five against the Predators.
Need-to-know info: For the second game in a row, the Preds were better than the Pens for long periods of time and even had an early lead thanks to Pontus Aberg’s goal with 7:03 left in the first period. Nashville is all set to host two SCF games for the first time ever, and the Predators hope Bridgestone Arena won’t fail them. The Preds have lost only one game at home this postseason. Nashville still has to figure out how to pick the Pens’ lock, though. “We have to be better defensively and find ways to beat Murray, so we’ll look at that, we’ll find ways and we’re going to get better, no question,” Captain Mike Fisher said.
Trends for fans who bet on hockey: The Predators have won 12 of their last 18 games and seven of their last eight at home, but have lost 80% of the Pens’ last five visits to Nashville. The Preds have gone 2-5 against the spread in their last seven contests. The NHL betting total has gone over in four fifths of the Preds’ last five encounters with the Penguins.