The Dallas Stars got what they wanted in the first two games of their Western Conference NHL playoff series in Nashville: a split. The series heads to Dallas on Monday night for Game 3.
Predators vs Stars Stanley Cup Playoffs Betting Analysis
With this series tied 1-1 entering Monday’s Game 3, the Predators remain -152 favourites on the Sports Interaction series line with Dallas at +110. The series correct score favourite is Predators winning in seven games. Nashville is +450 to win the West, with Dallas at +650. Suddenly, the Stanley Cup seems there for the taking with league-best Tampa Bay’s shocking start to its series vs. Columbus. An Eastern Conference team winning the Cup is still a -164 favourite.
Nashville won both its trips to Dallas this season. It was 5-4 in overtime on Nov. 10. Mattias Ekholm scored the winner 2:27 into OT. Roman Josi had tied it for Nashville at 19:17 of regulation on the power play. Backup Juuse Saros was in net for Nashville, and he won’t play Monday barring injury (or major struggles) to Pekka Rinne.
On Feb. 19, Nashville won 5-3 in Dallas. Josi had the go-ahead goal with 12:25 left and added an empty-netter. Ryan Ellis had three assists and Rinne made 36 saves.
The road team has won five of the past seven in this series. The total has gone over in the previous six in Dallas.
After dropping Game 1 3-2, the Preds evened things up with a 2-1 overtime win in Game 2 on Saturday. Craig Smith scored five minutes into overtime, the first postseason overtime goal of his career and third all-time playoff winner. That’s tied for the most in franchise history. Rocco Grimaldi had the other Nashville goal, with Rinne stopping 22 shots. Centre Brian Boyle missed the game with an illness (Grimaldi took his spot), and winger Wayne Simmonds left in the first period after taking a slap shot to his leg. Not clear on his status yet.
Special teams often decide an NHL playoff game, and the Stars were 0-for-6 with the man advantage in Game 2 after going 1-for-3 in the opener. Jamie Benn had the lone Dallas goal on Saturday. Ben Bishop allowed two goals on 43 shots. Winger Mattias Janmark left in the second period with what looked like a serious injury, but he’s a hockey player and eventually returned. The Stars were called for 13 icings in Game 2. Jason Spezza was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. Not too long ago, the former Ottawa Senator was a terrific player. Dallas is 4-1 in its past five after scoring two goals or fewer in the previous game.