Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Nashville Predators Game 6
Date and Time: Sunday, June 11, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
NHL Playoff Odds: Predators -160, O/U 5.5
Penguins vs. Predators Game 6 TV Coverage: NBC
Pekka Rinne has hit the defining moment of his NHL career. He's always been the guy who had the nice stats in the regular season but never had enough help around him to go anywhere in the playoffs. This year though, he became one of the top net minders in the NHL in crunch time, starting with a four-game sweep of Chicago in the opening round of the postseason.
But will Rinne be remembered most for his heroics in the late stages of the Stanley Cup Finals? Or will he be remembered for all four goals on 11 shots in Game 1 of this series, then getting pulled in Games 2 and 5? It's a harsh reality for him, but this is the moment Rinne must succeed. He's Nashville's only hope to come back in this series, as we know Jusse Saros isn't going to get the job done. Winning in Nashville hasn't been a problem for Rinne, but it's going to be impossible to think about the task ahead, one that will require him exorcizing demons and playing a good game in Pittsburgh to win the Stanley Cup.
The Penguins still aren’t in the clear yet. Sure, they were the better team in Game 5 by a comfortable margin, but that was really the first time they were definitively the better side in the first week and a half of this series. Generally speaking, they've been outhit, outshot and outworked, and only raw talent has gotten them this far. Though they did lose the hit battle in Game 5, they were much more competitive in that department. They won just under half of their faceoffs, were level on shots and clearly had the greater amount of quality chances.
Betting Trends of Note
The Penguins have really struggled to close out series thus far in the postseason, and that could end up being a big problem again in this one. They needed two tries to close out Columbus, three to finish Washington and two to dismiss Ottawa. There's only so many times you can go back to the well and still end up succeeding, but the bottom line is that the Penguins have continued to get the job done over and over again.
Are the prospects good for Game 6 in Nashville? Certainly not based off of this history. And especially not knowing that the Predators have lost a total of just one game at home in these playoffs and are 13-1 in their last 14 postseason games played here in "Smashville."
Penguins vs. Predators Game 6 Free Picks
We've been effectively going with underdogs throughout most of this series, and that's going to be the case against in Game 6. The Penguins know the narrative: They can't win in these close out games, and no one wins in Nashville aside from the Predators.
But this team looked a lot different on Thursday night. Sidney Crosby played angry. Evgeni Malkin looked like a legitimate sharpshooter against. Phil Kessel was really physical down on the boards and near the goal. And if these guys are on their game, there's no stopping this team.
Just as Anaheim was able to use superior talent to finally snare a win at Bridgestone Arena in the Western Conference Finals, we think this is the moment where the Penguins can do the same to clinch their second consecutive Stanley Cup.
Penguins vs. Predators Game 6 Pick: Penguins +140 at BookMaker.eu
Penguins vs. Predators Game 6 Score Prediction: Penguins 4, Predators 2