NHL Betting Preview: Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators

By: Barry Daniels | Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Ducks will be waddling back to Anaheim with their beaks held high for Friday’s Game 5 against the Nashville Predators after registering a 6-3 victory in Game 4. The win tied this best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series at two games apiece.

Anaheim closed as a 135 road underdog, with the combined nine goals catapulting ‘over’ the NHL odds. The ‘over’ is now 3-0-1 in the first four games of this series.

Most sports books monitored by Don Best Sports’ Real-Time Odds have opened the Ducks as 145 home favorites for Friday’s Game 5, which will be televised by the Versus network beginning at 7 p.m. (PT). The total has been set at five ‘under’ (minus 150).

Corey Perry's shorthanded goal early in the third period, which gave the Ducks a 4-3 lead, turned out to be the winning marker. Perry received a drop pass from Brandon McMillan and beat Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne with a backhand shot after making an inside move on Ryan Suter.

Ryan Getzlaf then made it 5-3 with his second goal of the series and Brandon McMillan made it 6-3 with his first playoff marker. The sixth goal was enough for the Predators to pull Rinne and replace him with Anders Lindback with 13 minutes remaining in the third period.

Rinne, who allowed the six goals on 29 shots, saw his overall record slip to 35-24-5-4 with a 2.21 GAA and .926 save percentage. He is still scheduled to start Friday’s Game 5 despite an .860 save percentage and a 3.73 GAA in this playoff series against the Ducks.

Ducks goalie Ray Emery stopped 19-of-22 Nashville shots to collect the victory. Emery began the playoffs as a backup to Dan Ellis, but entered with six minutes remaining in Game 1 when Ellis was pulled after allowing his fourth goal. Emery then started the next three playoff matches.

Cam Fowler and Saku Koivu got the Ducks off to a great start in Wednesday’s Game 4 win with goals and Selanne added his series-high fifth to put pressure on the Predators.

Nashville received even-strength goals from Patric Hornqvist and Matt Halischuk, and a power play marker from Joel Ward.

The Predators, 1-for-5 on the power play, are now 5-for-22 with the man advantage in this series. The Ducks were 2-for-6, and are now 6-for-18 in the series.

While the Ducks outshot Nashville 38-22 in Game 4, they are getting outshot 123-110 in the series so far.

This is one of the more physical quarterfinal series because of some dicey hits and some ill intentions.

The Predators lost right winger Martin Erat for the balance of Game 4 because of an upper-body injury suffered when Ducks winger Jarkko Ruutu hit him from the side in the neutral ice early in the second period.

Referees Dan O'Halloran and Brian Pochmara initially didn't call a penalty on Ruutu, but ultimately whistled him for interference after Erat was lying on the ice for a period of time. The Don Best Sports injury report lists Erat as “questionable.”

There is the possibility that Ruutu could be the latest to come before the NHL for possible supplementary discipline in these playoffs. Therefore, he is also listed as “questionable.”

Late in the game, Nashville forward Jordin Tootoo was whistled for roughing when he appeared to go high on a fore-check against Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman. Tootoo later was whistled for a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct on a different play.

The Ducks are looking forward to the return of top-line left wing Bobby Ryan, who had to sit out Games 3 and 4 because of a suspension for stomping on the foot of Nashville defenseman Jonathon Blum in Game 2.

Ryan's 34 regular-season goals were second on the team behind Corey Perry.

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