Welcome to NHL Game Day Predictions! Each day, Last Word on Hockey will break down every game and give our prediction for who will win. This will also include a featured game that should be must-watch hockey. Today’s featured game is the Colorado Avalanche vs Washington Capitals.
Keep in mind there are plenty of early starts for a Monday with Canadian Thanksgiving and most North American schoolkids off for the day.
Predictions Including Colorado Avalanche vs Washington Capitals
Anaheim Ducks vs. Boston Bruins
Head-to-Head: Ducks 0-0 Bruins
The Anaheim Ducks are off to a hot start at 4-1, but they face a tough task coming up for an East Coast game with a 1 p.m. ET start time. However, Anaheim boasts a stingy defence paced by goalies John Gibson and Ryan Miller. The Ducks have only given up 6 goals in their first five games. If anyone is equipped to handle an early Eastern game, it’s Dallas Eakins’ team. Anaheim beat the Columbus Blue Jackets, 2-1, on Saturday and hasn’t given up more than two goals in any game.
The Boston Bruins are also 4-1, but this was more expected from the defending Eastern Conference champions. Things have been going well for the B’s as they’re still among the league’s elite. The only complaint is the lack of legroom at the TD North Garden. Tuukka Rask posted a shutout, but Jaroslav Halak has a 1.53 GAA. The defence will be the order of the day but expect the Bruins to scratch out a win.
Prediction: Bruins win 3-1.
St. Louis Blues at New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Blues 0-0 New York Islanders
The defending Stanley Cup champions are coming off a 6-4 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. It was the first regulation loss of the season for the St. Louis Blues. Ryan O’Reilly leads the team with a goal and six assists for a free-wheeling Blues’ offence. St. Louis has been excellent at bouncing back as they’re 4-0 in their last four after giving up more than five goals the previous game. This is dating back to last season.
The New York Islanders are playing in a traditional holiday 1 p.m. Monday spot, so they’re familiar with early start times. They did just enough to get a 3-2 shootout win over the Florida Panthers. New York has a day off after a back-to-back and are looking to build momentum. However, the Isles have struggled against winning teams as they’re 0-7 in their last seven. Look for the Blues get the bounce-back win on the road.
Prediction: Blues win 4-2.
Florida Panthers at New Jersey Devils
Head-to-Head: Panthers 0-0 Devils
Florida is coming off a tough shootout loss to New York on Saturday. The Panthers have got loser points but would like to break into the win column again. A game against the winless New Jersey Devils might be the tonic. It looks like Sergei Bobrovsky will get the start after resting for Saturday’s game. Florida has been pretty efficient on Monday’s as it has a 22-4 record on that day. The Panthers have also been good after a day of rest as they’re 8-2 in their last 10. This is another 1 p.m. ET start.
The Devils came into the season a sexy pick to make some noise in the Metropolitan Division. However, they sit winless and lack of goals is the main culprit. New Jersey is 30th in the league when it comes to scoring with 1.80 goals per game. New Jersey has also struggled at surrendering goals with a 4.20 goals-against average. Their last-place penalty kill is one of the main reasons for that high number. Boston blanked New Jersey, 4-0, in the Devils’ last game. Florida will have Bobrovsky in net and should get on the winning path.
Prediction: Panthers win 4-1.
Minnesota Wild at Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Wild 0-0 Senators
The Minnesota Wild are also winless and looking to get off the skids at this 1 p.m. ET start time. Minnesota is the only team not to register a point as all four losses have come in regulation. The Wild’s usually reliable defence has struggled as they’ve been outscored 21-10. Goalie Devan Dubnyk has faced a ton of shots in all of his games. Minnesota is coming off a 7-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Brad Hunt leads the team in scoring with two goals.
The Ottawa Senators got their first win of the season by playing their most complete game against the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 4-2 win. Vladislav Namestnikov scored twice against a former team and has four points since coming over in a trade from the New York Rangers. Ottawa has yet to register a power-play goal in the first 12 extra-man chances in 2019-20. The Senators seem to have new life and pace thanks to the Russian forward and their offence should carry them through despite the Wild being a road favourite.
Prediction: Senators win 5-3
Dallas Stars at Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Stars 0-0 Sabres
The Dallas Stars seem too hungover from their Western Conference semifinal loss to the Blues. Dallas has one win and three points after six games and faces the Buffalo Sabres to start their four-game road swing at 3 p.m. ET Monday. The Stars were beaten 4-1 by the Capitals on Saturday night. Dallas should have a talented power play with forwards like Tyler Seguin and their great defenceman. However, they’re only 1-of-20 so far this season. The Stars have won five straight against the Sabres, including a pair of shutouts last season. Ben Bishop has won 12 straight against Buffalo.
Buffalo can open the season with points in its first six games for the first time since the 2008-09 season. The Sabres are 4-0-1 under new head coach Ralph Kruger and Jack Eichel has three goals and four assists. Buffalo beat Florida, 3-2, in a shootout on Friday night. Jeff Skinner is one assist away from 200 for his career. The young Sabres are keeping it simple under Kruger’s system and have limited mistakes. Buffalo should pick up a well-earned win.
Prediction: Sabres win 4-3
Colorado Avalanche vs Washington Capitals
Head-to-Head: Avalanche 0-0 Capitals
Colorado is off to a hot start with wins in their first four games for the first time since 2013. Pavel Francouz made 34 saves in the Avs 3-2 overtime win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. Goalie Philipp Grubauer and forward Andre Burakovsky will face their former team. Burakovsky even scored the overtime-winner for Colorado. Mikko Rantanen leads the team with three goals and three assists for the Avalanche.
Washington snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over Dallas on Saturday. That was the first regulation win over the Stars since 1995. John Carlson is off to a hot start with four multi-point games in the first six games. He leads blue-liners in scoring with two goals and eight assists. Alex Ovechkin leads in goals with four. Colorado wasn’t a good road team and Washington has the momentum going in. However, this should be a good game and it is why the Colorado Avalanche vs Washington Capitals is our game of the day.
Prediction: Capitals wins 3-2
Edmonton Oilers vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Oilers 0-0 Blackhawks
The Edmonton Oilers are 5-0-0 after beat the Rangers, 4-1, on Saturday. Yes, you read that right. James Neal has seven goals as the Oilers are off to their best start since the 1985-86 season. Edmonton has also won each of those five games after trailing. The Oilers are getting contributions from everyone and not just stars like Connor McDavid. Edmonton’s top-four scorers of McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Neal and Zack Kassian all have a shooting percentage of at least 18.2 percent.
The Chicago Blackhawks are in the middle of a seven-game homestand that hasn’t gone well. Chicago lost 3-2 in overtime to the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. Jonathan Toews has been surprisingly quiet this season as he doesn’t have a point in his first three games of the season. Head coach Jeremy Colliton decided to shuffle his line around in order to kickstart the offence. Edmonton is looking to cap the four-game road trip with a win, and they should here.
Prediction: Oilers win 4-2
DENVER, CO – NOVEMBER 16: Members of the Washington Capitals celebrate Nicklas Backstrom‘s overtime goal of the Washington Capitals vs Colorado Avalanche game at the Pepsi Center on November 16, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)