The playoffs march into the weekend, giving hockey fans non-stop NHL betting action. Here’s an inside look at three series on the go Friday and Saturday.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins struck first in this No. 4 vs. No. 5 matchup in the Eastern Conference. Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay were scoreless until six minutes into the third period in Game 1 on Wednesday, when the Penguins scored two quick goals then added an empty-net marker in the final seconds of the game.
Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stole the show in Game 1, turning away all 32 shots. He’s a playoff-tested netminder who could catch fire and carry the Pens deep in the postseason. Fleury, who posted a 2.31 GAA and .918 save percentage this season, has given up only eight goals in his five outings versus Tampa Bay – a team that finished eighth in scoring in the NHL.
Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks
The Predators came through for underdog bettors Wednesday, winning Game 1 against the Duck 4-1 as +118 road pups. Nashville got a two-goal effort from recently-acquired forward Mike Fisher and a terrific outing in goal from Pekka Rinne, who stopped 27 shots in the win.
The Predators were the only visiting team to win Wednesday night, capitalizing on great matchups. They sent out defensemen Shea Weber and Ryan Suter against Anaheim top-line forwards Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, and Corey Perry, holding that trio to a minus rating on the night. It’s only one game into the postseason, but the Ducks’ late-season playoff push could have left the tank empty.
Phoenix Coyotes at Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings scored three goals in the second period to down the Coyotes 4-2 in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on Wednesday. Detroit overcame a quick goal from Phoenix in the first period, relying on a solid defensive effort that locked down the Coyotes for only 17 shots in the final two periods. The Red Wings countered with 27 shots in the second and third periods.
Penalty killing was a big part of Wednesday’s win. The Red Wings killed off all of the Coyotes’ power plays, including a five-on-three man advantage that spanned a minute and a half. Detroit is off to a better start than in last year’s first-round meeting with Phoenix; last year, Detroit fell 3-2 in Game 1 with the series opening in Arizona.