Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Nashville Predators Matchup Preview 3/21/19

Posts AdminArticles, Hockey, NHL

Two teams that split their head-to-head series (one win apiece) last year, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators clash at Bridgestone Arena. This East-West matchup will get going at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 21, and it is being shown live on AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators Odds

Nashville (-155) is favored over Pittsburgh (+135), and the Over/Under (O/U) has been placed at 6 goals. The line for betting that total stands at -120 for the over and even money (+100) for the under.

Losing 7.0 units for moneyline gamblers, the Predators are 42-32 straight up (SU) overall in the 2018-19 season. That winning percentage, the second-best in the Central Division in this young season, is a regression from the 53-29 record that the team posted during last year’s regular season campaign. Through 74 regular season outings, 40 of its games have gone under the total, while 31 have gone over and just three have pushed. This year, the team is 23-14 SU at home.

Nashville has converted on just 13.4 percent of its power play opportunities this year, a figure that’s ranked 31st overall in the NHL. On the other hand, its penalty kill is rated 11th overall, and it’s successfully killed off 81.2 percent of all penalties.

As a collective unit, Nashville has been penalized 3.7 times per game overall this season, and 4.4 per game over its last five home outings. The team’s had to stave off opposition power plays for just 7.7 minutes per game over its last 10 matchups, in total.

Averaging 25.0 saves per game with a .915 save percentage, Pekka Rinne (27-23-4) has been the best option in goal for the Predators this season. If head coach Peter Laviolette decides to rest him, however, the team could turn to Juuse Saros (16-13-13 record, .915 save percentage, 2.62 goals against average).

The Preds will continue to lean on the offensive production from Ryan Johansen and Roman Josi. Johansen (60 points) has tallied 11 goals and 49 assists and has recorded multiple points on 15 different occasions this year. Josi has 15 goals and 40 assists to his name and has recorded at least one point in 40 games.

On the other side of the ice, Pittsburgh is 39-35 straight up (SU) and has lost 13.1 units for moneyline bettors thus far. A total of 35 of its outings have gone under the total, while 33 have gone over and just six have pushed. As a road team, Pittsburgh is 18-19 SU.

Pittsburgh has converted on 25.1 percent of its power play chances this year, a figure that places it in the top-10 among NHL teams. On the other hand, its penalty kill unit is ranked 17th overall and it’s successfully killed off 80.6 percent of all opponent power plays.

Pittsburgh’s skaters have been whistled for penalties 3.5 times per game this season, 3.2 per game over their past five games total, and 3.6 per game over their last five on the road. The team has been forced to kill penalties just 8.3 minutes per game over their last 10 outings.

Matt Murray (2.80 goals against average and .917 save percentage) has been the main option in goal for Pittsburgh. Murray is averaging 29.4 saves per game and has 24 wins, 18 losses, and five overtime losses to his credit.

For the visiting Penguins, the offense will be heavily coordinated by Sidney Crosby, who’s got 60 assists and 33 goals this year.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators Betting Predictions

Free NHL Tip: SU Winner – Penguins, O/U – Over

Betting Notes

  • The total has gone under in four of Nashville’s last five outings.
  • This game features two clubs that put the puck on goal a lot. Pittsburgh has registered the league’s eighth-most shots on goal (32.9) and Nashville has attempted the 10th-most (32.8).
  • Extra-man opportunities may have a key role in tonight’s game. The Penguins are 14-13 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than their opponent and 30-21 in games where they serve fewer than 10 total penalty minutes. The Predators are 15-12 when they serve fewer penalty minutes than the opposition and 30-21 when they’re in the box for less than 10 minutes.
  • Three of Nashville’s past 10 outings have been decided by a shootout. The team’s 3-0 in those games and 4-1 overall in shootouts this season.
  • Nashville is ranked 14th in the league this season with 7.7 takeaways per game. That figure’s trended lower lately, however, as the team has created 6.7 takeaways over its last 10 games and 7.0 takeaways over its last five.
  • Pittsburgh has scored 3.4 goals per game as a team this season, but has been averaging 1.3 goals per contest over its last three games (0-3 SU over that span).
  • Pittsburgh skaters have averaged 6.4 takeaways per game over its last five road games, a drop-off from its season average of 7.9 takeaways per game (ranked 10th in the NHL).