Preds, Pens Favored to Meet in Stanley Cup FinalsBy Allen Moody
The Nashville Predators find themselves favored to win their first-ever Western Conference Finals appearance. While the Pittsburgh Penguins are massive favorites over Ottawa in the East.
The Predators are -129 in their series against the Anaheim Ducks that begins Friday. Those taking the Ducks will get back +109. The Ducks may have have home ice advantage, but the Predators have been more impressive this postseason. Not only has Nashville won, they’ve won in impressive fashion, sweeping Chicago and defeating St. Louis in six. The Predators are playing solid defense and getting excellent play from goalie Pekka Rinne. Only twice have the Predators allowed three goals and they’ve allowed 14 in 10 playoff games. Anaheim has allowed an average of three goals per game. But the Ducks do have a slight advantage in offense.
The goalies will be key to this series. Renne has fallen off a bit in the past few years but is looking like the top five goalie he was a few years back. Anaheim’s Gibson has been above average, although that’s about it.
The Penguins aren’t expected to have any problems with the Senators. Then again, neither were the Bruins or the Rangers. But the Senators have pulled several surprises, but are now faced with their toughest task yet. While the Penguins may be banged up, they still have several world-class players in Crosby and Malkin. Some of their younger players stepped things up a bit in the playoffs. Ottawa has Erik Karlsson.
The Senators aren’t going to be intimidated by the Penguins. They know that nobody expected them to be here and really have nothing to lose. Karlsson is also beat up a bit, but that hasn’t slowed him down yet and he is a huge key for the Senators. If the Senators can get a split in Pittsburgh, this one could get interesting in a hurry.