Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images

The Nashville Predators are still dominating on home-ice, while the Ottawa Senators continue to be the surprise of the 2017 NHL playoffs after a statement win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.  

The lower seed is on top in each of the Eastern and Western Conference Finals series coming off of Game 3 victories, but there is potential for those teams trailing to turn it around.

Anaheim still has the offensive firepower to light up scoreboards, and the depleted Penguins are an experienced team that is no stranger to adversity.

With that in mind, let us take a look at the latest dates, television information, start times and odds for the postseason.

Game 4 for each matchup is listed below, and the remainder of schedule can be found at NHL.com, while the Game 4 odds are according to OddsShark.com. Continue for a brief look at where each series stands through three games.


Pittsburgh at Ottawa

When: Friday, May 19 at 8 p.m. ET

Television: NBCSN (Live stream on NBC Sports Live)

Anaheim at Nashville

When: Thursday, May 18 at 8 p.m. ET

Television: NBCSN (Live stream on NBC Sports Live)

Game 4 Odds

Eastern Conference: Pittsburgh 22/25, Ottawa 103/100

Western Conference: Anaheim 6/5, Nashville 19/25


Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa

Despite injuries to a bevy of important contributors, like Patric Hornqvist, Kris Letang, Bryan Rust and Justin Schultz, the Penguins still looked like the stronger team after controlling Game 2.

Their history, along with being defending Stanley Cup champions, also suggested they would come out and take control of the series in Game 3, per ESPN’s John Buccigross:

However, Ottawa absolutely blitzed Pittsburgh in stunning fashion. In their first home Eastern Conference Finals game in a decade, the Senators chased Marc-Andre Fleury from the net by taking a 4-0 first-period lead. 

Craig Anderson was stout in net once more, as he stopped 25 shots while allowing just one goal for the third straight game. Ottawa also dominated the face-off circle with 37 wins to Pittsburgh’s 20.

The Senators entered this series as the inferior team from a personnel standpoint, and that is still the case. However, they needed to impose their conservative, clogging style of play to win this series along with excellent play from Anderson, and both are happening at the moment.

The NHL’s top scoring team in the regular season has just four goals in three games, and it took until Game 3 for Sidney Crosby to record his first point.

Fleury has also been strong in net, but Pittsburgh has to be worried about the way he has flopped in losses, per Sportsnet:

Even without the injured players mentioned above, Pittsburgh still has elite offensive stars in Crosby, Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin that have proved to be major performers in big spots. The Penguins also showed they can combat Ottawa’s defensive shell with their smart, possession-oriented play in Game 2.

Ottawa is not going to routinely explode offensively like it did in Game 3, but the Senators are starting to look like a legitimate contender to win the East.

Due to its resume and star power, Pittsburgh gets the benefit of the doubt that its Game 3 was an anomaly and it should still be favored moving forward, but the Penguins are now in a must-win situation for Friday.


Anaheim vs. Nashville

Home-ice is of the utmost importance to the Predators, considering they have won 10 straight postseason games in Nashville dating back to last season.

This pretty much makes Game 4 a must-win for Anaheim, as the Ducks would feel better about their chances to advance having to win two-out-of-three with two home games than three straight with another Nashville trip sandwiched in the middle.

That simply cannot happen unless John Gibson improves in net. The 23-year-old’s 2.74 goals against average and .915 save percentage easily place him last among remaining postseason goaltenders, and his rebound control and awareness have been shaky for most of the playoffs.

Roman Josi’s winner in Game 3 was a perfect example, as Gibson was simply swimming after leaving a juicy rebound, via the NHL:

Gibson appears to have the support of his teammates, though. Following Game 3, captain Ryan Getzlaf credited the goaltender for battling tough for 38 saves despite Nashville consistently bumping him or creating traffic in front, via NHL.com’s Tim Campbell.

“He was incredible,” Getzlaf said. “He played awesome. They were bumping into him all night long. I saw him on his back five, six times. And he stood in there and made the saves that he’s supposed to and some that he shouldn’t. So he allowed us to stay in the game.”

Even with the best player in the series, Getzlaf, arguably the fastest defensive group in the NHL and more scoring depth, Anaheim will not win this series without Gibson starting to outplay Pekka Rinne.

The Finnish goaltender is owning this postseason, as he is as focused as ever while playing against the NHL’s best top-four defensive group that features Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Josi and P.K. Subban.

He leads the playoffs with a 1.58 GAA and a .942 save percentage, and Sportsnet noted that he is certainly putting Nashville in an excellent spot to win on a nightly basis:

Nashville’s top line of Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen have also been a major thorn for Anaheim. At least one of these three have been involved in seven of the Predators’ eight goals in this series.

Game 4 could be a toss-up, but Nashville should be slightly favored based on its home brilliance. As for the series, the Predators have been the best team in the NHL in the postseason, and they are continuing to fit that bill as the Ducks deal with goaltending issues that do not exist for Rinne. Expect Nashville to earn its first-ever Stanley Cup trip.


Statistics are courtesy of NHL.com unless otherwise noted.

Source link