NHL Betting: Coyotes Can Eliminate Predators in Game 5

| by Alex Groberman

by Bovada Sportsbook | May 7, 2012

There will be just one NHL playoff game contested on Monday night, but it’s about as big a game as you can get. At Arena in Glendale, AZ, the Phoenix Coyotes will look to make the first Western Conference final in franchise history by defeating the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of their conference semifinal.

Currently, Bovada’s online sportsbook is offering a number of odds, futures and lines pertaining to Monday night’s game. Let’s check some numbers out now…

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Nashville Predators -115 at Phoenix Coyotes -115

So, how did we get to this stage? Let’s recap…

…Phoenix staked a three-games-to-one series lead thanks to some intelligent play, sharp goaltending and a fair bit of good luck along the way. The biggest story of this series so far was Nashville suspending forwards Alex Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn for Game 3 (after the pair broke curfew prior to Game 2, and played poorly.) Without the two offensive stars, Nashville rallied for its first win of the series – prompting head coach Barry Trotz to sit the pair again in Game 4.

Trotz chalked it up to a “hockey decision” and stressed the “punishment” period was over. The veteran head coach firmly believed that by sitting Radulov (who led the team in points) and Kostitsyn (who led the team in goals) in Game 4, he’d be rewarding the hard, workmanlike effort his lineup gave him in Game 3.

It was an admirable approach, but it blew up in Nashville’s face. Without Kostitsyn and Radulov the Predators struggled offensively in Game 4, losing 1-0 (and getting shut out for the first time this postseason.)

So you can see why people are high on Phoenix heading into Game 5. There are concerns that Nashville is a straight-up mess at the moment – even if Trotz re-inserts Radulov and Kostitsyn (as many believed he should’ve done last game), there’s no telling what kind of effort the two will put forth. This public shaming has been awkward and uncomfortable for everything and by extending it past the original one game suspension, it’s caused a lot of headaches.

Not like the Coyotes care, mind you. They’ve been the exact opposite of the Preds thus far – even when the playoffs might’ve been derailed with Raffi Torres’ 25-game suspension, the Coyotes kept an even keel and managed to focus on the players that were on the ice, not banished from playing.

Finally, it’s worth nothing (and since we’re talking about suspensions) that Phoenix will again be shorthanded on Monday night. Defenseman Rostislav “Rusty” Klesla has been suspended one game for a boarding hit on Nashville forward Matt Halischuk in Game 4. While Klesla isn’t a household name, he does play a key role for the Coyotes and is a steadying influence on the back end. With him out, expect defenseman David Schlemko to draw in.

The gloves are off. Bet on NHL action at Bovada.