Nashville Predators (24-17-8) at Pittsburgh Penguins (30-13-5)
|Date & Time||Tuesday January 31, 2017, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Pittsburgh Penguins / Nashville Predators --- Over/Under:
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The Pittsburgh Penguins look to snap out of their recent funk against the Central division as they welcome the Nashville Predators to town on Tuesday night.
The Predators look to start the unofficial second half of the season with a big time road win against the defending Cup champions but they will have their work cut out for them as the Pens have been remarkable at home and don’t plan to slow down now. Nashville got off to a slow start but have shaped into form and look like they should be able to make a push in the Central division and will challenge for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Predators carry the same template we have seen from them in year’s past as they have a world class goaltender and a strong defensive unit but continue to be plagued by offensive struggles and will need another top end scorer if they’re going to be able to challenge some of the league’s top teams in the playoffs.
The Penguins meanwhile have been clinical this season and are in a very heated race with the Blue Jackets and Capitals for top spot in the Metro division in a quest that will likely come right down to the final game of the season. Pittsburgh utilizes home ice better than any team in the NHL and if they can secure that designation throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs they are in a very good position to repeat as Cup champions as they have the experience and talent to go up against anyone in the league. The Pens are likely to send Marc-Andre Fleury to the crease here as he will match up against Pekka Rinne who has been remarkable for the Preds and to me, gives them a slight edge in goal in this contest.
The Predators are 4-1 in their last five road games and 1-4 in their last five Tuesday games while the Penguins are 10-2 in their last 12 Tuesday games and 45-13 in their last 58 home games. Nashville is a good team but this is a bad spot and while the line isn’t something to bite on I think Pittsburgh has more than enough to get the win here.