Anaheim Ducks vs. Nashville Predators Game 3
Date and Time: Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
NHL Playoff Odds
Ducks vs. Predators Game 3 TV Coverage: NBC Sports Network
It's very clear if the Ducks are going to win this series, they flat out have to play faster than they did in Games 1 and 2. The best stretches of this series to date for Anaheim came when it was able to pinch to the corners and keep the puck away from Pekka Rinne. Rinne is one of the best goalies in the league when it comes to playing the puck, and dumping it into the trapezoid time and time again is a recipe to be playing most of the game in your end of the ice.
But give Anaheim credit for its resilience in Game 2. It wasn't the better team on the ice for our money for the most part. The Predators opened up a 2-0 lead, and even after blowing that lead in a quick span of 1:39 between the end of the first period and the beginning of the second, they took the lead back thanks to Filip Forsberg seven minutes later. The Ducks would have had every reason to lay down and die at that point, but Ondrej Kase came out of nowhere to have his best game of his career, one that included his first goal of these playoffs to knot the score at 3-3.
From there, it really was all Anaheim. The Ducks had some great stretches, including when Nick Ritchie scored at 17:07 of the second and the stretch right after killing off a Ryan Kesler penalty in which the Preds felt like they just flat out couldn't get out of their own zone.
There were nervy moments for sure at the end of the game with the extra attacker on the ice for Nashville, but Antoine Vermette's empty-netter was the one that sealed the deal for the hosts.
Can Rinne rebound from the worst game he's had in these playoffs? Remember that, in spite of the fact this has been a Vezina Trophy contender at times in his career, Rinne has never played this deep into May, and normally, it's because of his shortcomings in the playoffs that have caused that.
We're not thrilled with John Gibson on the other end of the ice, but this isn't the real factor. Gibson hasn't been here often enough to develop a bit of a complex like Rinne could. If Rinne gives up an early one on Tuesday night, is he going to be able to rebound and look awesome again? Because allowing four goals again isn't going to cut it no matter how bad Gibson is.
Ducks vs. Predators Game 3 Free Picks
We feel pretty confident that Anaheim is going to turn the tables and get one of these two games in Nashville, and that's going to be enough value to get us on the side of the hosts. We think the Ducks are being badly understated here even though they were clearly a much better home team than road team this year, and with some shaken up lines, they might have the goods to finally fluster Nashville. We'll take our chances that Rinne has another off night in what should again be a higher scoring game.
Ducks vs. Predators Game 3 Pick: Quack with the Ducks at BookMaker.eu
Ducks vs. Predators Game 3 Score Prediction: Ducks 4, Predators 3