Back at it tonight in the NHL. So far in the playoffs I’m 4-5, but still up 0.65 units. Now that we are down to 8 teams the action really picks up and as long time followers know there are few things I like more than playoff hockey. Here’s how I start things out in round 2….
Predators (+100): Jake Allen and Pekka Rinne were the two most impressive goalies in the first round of the playoffs. Allen stood on his head all series putting up a .956 save percentage and a 1.47 GAA. As good as Allen was, Rinne was even better with a .976 save percentage and a 0.70 GAA. Now the question becomes which goalie is more likely to sustain this success and back it up with another huge series? For my money Rinne is that guy. When Rinne is on I still think he’s one of the best goalies in the league. Against the Blackhawks not only was he keeping pucks out of the back of the net but he rarely was even allowing rebounds. There were very few second and third chances for Chicago in that series and I suspect the Blues will have similar problems. As far as the Blues go, credit to them for knocking off Minnesota in 5 games but there are no doubt some concerns. In that series they were out shot by an average of 9.6 shots per game as for the most part the Wild dominated the series in every way except putting the puck in the net. Generally speaking it’s tough to have continued success when you are badly out shot game after game. On the Nashville end they at least played Chicago straight up in terms of shots on goal where on average it was 31 to 31.5 for the series. Even in the regular season the Blues ranked 26th in the league in shots on goal at only 28.4 per contest. This isn’t a team that generates a ton of scoring chances and against a goalie as good and locked in as Rinne that’s trouble. Nashville on the other hand ranked 6th this year in shots on goal per game at 31.2. Against a goalie like Allen who I frankly feel is playing over his head right now I think the recipe is just to continue to throw pucks at him and dare him to keep standing on his head. There’s just too much here for me to pass on the Preds at only even money.