Dallas Stars vs. Nashville Predators NHL Betting Odds & Pick from Larry Ness: October 12th 2017

| October 12, 2017

Dallas Stars vs. Nashville Predators
NHL Betting Pick: Nashville -114 odds (October 12th 2017)

The Nashville Predators didn’t make much noise in the regular season last year but then opened the playoffs with an improbable four-game sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks, the Western Conference points leader. Nashville followed that by KOing the Blues and Ducks (each in six games) to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. Nashville fell behind Pittsburgh 2-0 in that series but won Games 3 and 4 at home to even the series. However, the defending champs were too much in the end, taking the final two games by scores of 5-0 and 2-0.

Dallas was a trendy preseason pick to win the Central Division after Ken Hitcock was hired for a second go-around with the Stars (he was fired in early February by St Louis in what was supposed to be his final season with the Blues). Dallas was said to had a terrific off-season, landing goalie Ben Bishop and center Alex Radulov.

The Stars started with 2-1 and 4-2 losses to Vegas and St Louis but Dallas earned its first victory of the new season Tuesday, 4-2 at home over the Red Wings. Hitchcock earned his 782nd win to move into a tie with Al Arbour for third place on the all-time list. “I was thinking on the bench that we’ve played three great hockey games, and it would have felt poorly to not finish this off,” Hitchcock said. “I thought this was the best balance we’ve had. This looked like something you could really build on.” One reason for Hitchock’s satisfaction with his team’s play is the pressure applied by Dallas, which has unleashed 119 shots on goal through the first three games. Ben Bishop, who was injured in the season opener, earned his first win with the Stars by making 23 saves.

The Predators also know about slow starts, losing 4-3 at Boston in their season-opener and then losing a Stanley Cup rematch at Pittsburgh, 4-0 on Saturday (third straight shutout at the hands of the Pens). It appeared as if the Preds were headed for their third loss in as many games Tuesday night, after giving up five unanswered goals to the Flyers. However, Nashville scored twice in the final 77 seconds to stun the Flyers 6-5, providing a fitting end to a home opener in which Nashville raised its Western Conference championship banner from last season. Filip Forsberg led the charge back from a two-goal deficit by scoring twice in the third period, including the game-winner with 35.6 seconds to play. Forsberg sandwiched two goals around a tying tally by Scott Hartnell, who also scored twice in the contest. “He’s one of the best guys in front of the net,” Forsberg said of Hartnell, who was signed away from the Columbus Blue Jackets in the off-season. “You see that on the first (goal). He’s just shooting for anything and it goes in.”

The Predators have allowed 13 goals in their first three games, something they will have to cut down on in order to position themselves for a division title and a long playoff run. Veteran Pekka Rinne didn’t turn it on until the postseason last year but the Preds surely don’t want to wait that long, again. Nashville’s first two losses came on the road but the team’s first win of the new season on Tuesday, was at home. Nashville went 9-2 on home ice during last year’s playoffs and my bet says the Preds win again, extending their 10-2 run at Bridgestone Arena to 11-2. After all, Bishop is just 1-3-1 with a 3.56 goals-against average against the Predators.

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