NHL Betting Preview (April 26): Predators vs. Canucks Game 3 Predictions

Elias Pettersson and Roman Josi battle for position in the slot in Game 2 (Canucks Predictions)

The thing about the NHL playoffs is that anything can happen. We have seen enough No. 8 seeds upset No. 1 seeds to know that there are no “sure things” when it comes to postseason hockey. Is it possible the Vancouver Canucks could learn that lesson the hard way?

The favourites coming into their opening-round series with the Nashville Predators, things haven’t exactly gone as planned. Heading into Game 3, the Canucks have got to be feeling a sense of concern about the direction that this series is heading.

Bet on Canucks vs. Predators

VAN -102
NSH -114

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The Canucks are slight road underdogs, coming in between -102 and -110 on the moneyline.

Predators vs. Canucks Best Odds

Canucks Moneyline Odds-102 @ Betano
Predators Moneyline Odds-107 @ Pinnacle
Puckline oddsCanucks +1.5 (-249) @ Pinnacle
Predators -1.5 (+220) @ BetMGM
Series oddsPredators -105, Canucks -115 @ Bet365
Total Over 6.0 goals (+105) @ Pinnacle
Under 5.5 goals (+110) @ Betway
Time/DateApril 26, 7:30 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: Sportsnet, CBC, TVA Sports (French)
Stream: Sportsnet+
(How to watch the NHL in Canada?)

Last Matchup

The news came down early that Demko wouldn’t be in the lineup and that difference was felt immediately. Anthony Beauvillier deflected a shot from Filip Forsberg just 1:14 into the first period, catching DeSmith going the wrong way.

The penalty kill for Nashville wound up being a difference-maker as well. En route to going 4/4 on the kill, the Predators held the Canucks to zero shots on the three first-period power plays that the Canucks had.

Forsberg added what would be the game-winner 6:29 into the second period and Colton Sissons’ tally just a minute and a half later put the game away. The Canucks managed just 18 shots, in part because the Predators blocked a whopping 30 shots in the contest.

Betting Vancouver Canucks (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS, 1-1 o/u)

It is not outlandish to say that this could be a 2-0 Predators lead heading back to Nashville. For 40 minutes of Game 1, the Predators stifled and frustrated the dynamic Canucks, taking a 2-1 lead into the final frame.

A quick outburst changed everything that night. It took all of 12 seconds for Pius Suter and Dakota Joshua to take the Canucks from trailing to leading, and that was all that wound up mattering at the end of the day.

Things looked very similar in Game 2, but things never turned for the Canucks. The two teams only managed 34 combined shots, a very low number given the offensive output the Canucks experienced this year. But the game showed the flaws that the Canucks have.

The Predators shut down the middle of the ice, kept the smaller Canucks to the perimeter, and watched shot attempt after shot attempt bounce off defenders. It doesn’t help that goalie Thatcher Demko could be done for the series, but this is a Vancouver team that is supposed to be strong enough to overcome. Whether they can do that remains to be seen.

Betting Nashville Predators (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS, 1-1 o/u)

Though the Predators finished as the first Wild Card, they are a tougher team than meets the eye. In a stacked Western Conference, featuring teams like Colorado, Winnipeg, Dallas, Edmonton, Vegas, and Vancouver, the Predators consistently held their own and earned their spot.

In the first two games of this series, the Predators have outworked the Canucks. They are more physical, win the one-on-one battles, and put themselves in the way of nearly every shot attempt that the Canucks are able to muster.

They also managed to take advantage of the goaltending situation facing the Canucks. Getting on the board early, the Predators kept at the Canucks and never allowed them to gain even an inkling of momentum in the process.

For the Predators, the game is simple. Block shots, keep things to the perimeter, and put shots on a goaltender (Casey DeSmith) that few people seem to have confidence in at the moment. If the Predators can win Game 3 at home, the Vancouver faithful will have plenty to be concerned about.

Projected Predators and Canucks Lines

Today’s Vancouver Canucks LinesToday’s Nashville Predators Lines
Pius Suter – J.T. Miller – Brock Boeser
Nils Hoglander – Elias Pettersson – Ilya Mikheyev
Dakota Joshua – Elias Lindholm – Conor Garland
Phil Di Giuseppe – Teddy Blueger – Sam Lafferty

Quinn Hughes – Filip Hronek
Carson Soucy – Noah Juulsen
Ian Cole – Nikita Zadorov

Starting In Goal
Casey DeSmith
Playoffs: 0-1-0, 3.05 GAA, 0.800 SV%
Season: 12-9-6, 2.85 GAA, 0.896 SV%
Filip Forsberg – Ryan O’Reilly – Gustav Nyquist
Mark Jankowski – Tommy Novak – Luke Evangelista
Anthony Beauvillier – Colton Sissons – Jason Zucker
Kiefer Sherwood – Michael McCarron – Cole Smith

Ryan McDonagh – Roman Josi
Jeremy Lauzon – Alexandre Carrier
Spencer Stastney – Luke Schenn

Starting In Goal
Juuse Saros
Playoffs: 1-1-0, 2.01 GAA, 0.895 SV%
Season: 35-24-5, 2.86 GAA, 0.906 SV%

The line shuffling has been kept to a minimum, especially for the Predators. The biggest change in the lineup for the Canucks is obviously in goal. Demko has been one of the best netminders in the league all year, so losing him is catastrophic for this round and beyond.

Filip Forsberg (NSH) to score a goal


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Predators vs. Canucks Injury Concerns

The Predators are whole and that’s all they can ask for. Obviously, the only injury worth talking about is the biggest one in Demko. Though it hasn’t been disclosed exactly what he is dealing with, some are estimating that he could miss the entire first round due to injury. That puts the Canucks very much on upset watch.

  • The focus of the series is no doubt going to be DeSmith and the goaltending situation. He was sparsely used during the regular season, going 12-9-6 overall. That said, he was just 4-5-1 when Demko went out with a knee injury earlier in the season.
  • Despite early success against the Canucks, it has been tough sledding for the Predators defensively in the playoffs. Despite allowing just one goal in Game 1, they have allowed four or more goals seven times in 12 games going back to the 2021 playoffs.
  • The Canucks averaged more than 28 shots per game in the regular season (28.39). Through two games so far, they have just 35 total shots (17.50 average). That’s in part due to the fact that the Predators have 44 blocked shots through two games.
  • It hasn’t been a good series for Elias Pettersson so far. He has been held pointless through two games and is an ugly -4. Even worse, he has just two shots on goal in that span. Going back to 2020, Pettersson has failed to register a point in four consecutive playoff games.
  • Forsberg is the all-time leader in playoff goals for the Predators with 30 goals (and counting). He has been good in this series, registering three points (one goal, two assists) through two games, including six shots over that span.
  • Quinn Hughes has been Jekyll and Hyde as a playoff performer. There is no better example than these two games. In Game 1, he had two assists and finished a +2. In Game 2, he finished without a point and an ugly -2. Historically, he tends to do worse with more ice time – he got 27:29 in Game 2, five minutes more than his Game 1 output – historically and this is a great (but small) example.

Predators vs. Canucks Predictions

  • There is a sense of panic happening in Vancouver right now. The Predators are frustrating the deep and dynamic Vancouver offence by blocking a ton of shots. Given the struggles of the big names for Vancouver, the under (best price: under 5.5 on Betway at +110) feels like the safest play for the moment.
  • Forsberg is the heart and soul of the Predators in many ways. When playoff season comes around, he shows up. If the Predators are going to take the series lead, look for him to score any time (best price: +115 at Fanduel) to extend his franchise lead.
  • The Canucks have gotten off to a slow start in each game of the series. Playing at home and with the Canucks struggling, the Predators -1 (+600 at bet365) in the first period feels like the safest play out there right now.

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