The Predators got blanked 6-0 in Game 6 at Pittsburgh, and now find themselves down 3-2 in the series heading back home. They even pulled starting goalie Pekka Rinne after the first period for Juuse Saros, but that didn’t help at all. The Preds had played well for most of the first two games in Pittsburgh and dominated both home games in Nashville, so was Game 5 just an anomaly?
Recent history suggests that playoff teams have been able to bounce back after a blowout loss, but that was far from the case for a bulk of the 2000s. Here’s a look at how teams have done in the following game after losing by at least 4 goals in the playoffs:
2015-17: 18-9, +9.8 units
2006-14: 21-51, -29.7 units
The 18-9 record includes the Penguins loss in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup this year, but they certainly recovered in time for Game 5. It could be pure coincidence, but over the last few years it’s been very profitable to buy low on these teams after a big loss. In just 2017 alone, teams have gone 5-2 in this situation. The overall trend also improves the later in the playoffs you look. In the Stanley Cup Final, teams are 5-3 after a blowout loss. It makes sense as the best teams in the league should be best equipped to shake off a bad loss.
Bettors haven’t completely lost faith in the Preds yet, but they’re getting just a slight majority (56% of tickets) as -134 favorites in Game 6. We’ve seen little movement around the market so far but they are as high as -142 at sharp books like CRIS. If Nashville plays like they did in any of the first four games, it’s not hard to see them taking Game 6 and forcing a Game 7 back in Pittsburgh. It also doesn’t hurt that the Preds have gone 9-1 for +5.63 units at home this playoffs, so they’ll have plenty of confidence.
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