Welcome to NHL Game Day predictions! Each day, we at 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. Tonight’s featured game is the Tampa Bay Lightning vs Boston Bruins. This article features the early games for tonight. The late-game slate can be found here.
Predictions Featuring Tampa Bay Lightning vs Boston Bruins
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Boston Bruins
Head-to-Head: Lightning 0-0 Bruins
The Tampa Bay Lightning have had an okay start to the season, sporting a record of 3-2-1. Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov have picked up right where they left off last season, tied for the team lead in points with eight. Recent restricted free agent signing Brayden Point has also started strong with three points in the three games since he returned from injury. They are coming off a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. This game marks the end of a long six-game road trip that started in the opening week of the season. They are looking to make it an even split with a win against the Bruins.
The Boston Bruins, on the other hand, are one of the hottest teams in the National Hockey League. They have started the season 5-1 and are currently on a two-game winning streak. They have also only allowed two goals in the past two games and are one of the stingiest teams defensively so far. The Bruins’ top line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand are on a tear offensively accounting for 58% of the team’s total offence. Pastrnak, in particular, is on fire coming off a four-goal game against the Anaheim Ducks. The Lightning will have to try to find a way to shut them down in order to win this game.
Prediction: Boston wins 4-2
Minnesota Wild vs Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Wild 0-0 Canadiens
The Minnesota Wild‘s season so far has been a disaster. After opening the campaign with four straight regulation losses, they finally won their first game against the Ottawa Senators. They subsequently lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs the next day, 4-2. Goaltending and goal scoring has been an issue as they have been outscored 25-14 so far to start the season. Three defensemen are currently leading the team in scoring with Brad Hunt, Jared Spurgeon, and Ryan Suter all with four points. That sums up the Wild’s scoring woes right there. The closest forward is Marcus Foligno with three points (all assists). This game marks the end of a three-game road trip where they have only won once.
On the other side, the Montreal Canadiens have had an up and down start to their season. Currently sporting a record of 2-2-2, they have lost three out of their last four games, all in regulation. This game marks the end of a four-game homestand where they have only won once, which was against the defending Stanley Cup Champions St. Louis Blues. Max Domi, Jonathan Drouin and Brendan Gallagher share the team lead in points all with six. Domi has points in all but one game to start the campaign.
Prediction: Montreal wins 4-0
New York Rangers vs New Jersey Devils
Head-to-Head: Rangers 0-0 Devils
You could call this the 2019 NHL Draft showdown, except it’s not as exciting as it should be. First overall pick Jack Hughes and second overall pick Kaapo Kakko both have struggled to start their NHL careers. The New York Rangers have not needed Kakko to be an offensive force, however, as the duo of Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin have been nearly unstoppable to start the season. Zibanejad has eight points to go with Panarin’s four. Those totals are impressive in itself, but even more so because the Rangers have only played three games so far. As for Kakko, he did score his first NHL goal last game against the Edmonton Oilers, so maybe that will be the springboard he needs to get going. The Rangers as a team have only lost once this season, and that was the last game they played.
The New Jersey Devils have not had a good start to the 2019-20 campaign. Touted as a team to watch with all the acquisitions they made in the offseason, nothing has gone right so far. Currently on a six-game losing streak, and still looking for their first win of 2019-20, the Devils look like they could be on their way to another lottery finish. It’s still early, but they need to find a way to right the ship soon, or it will be an uphill battle for the rest of the season. Now on the second game of a six-game homestand, Devils Nation could get restless if it continues much longer. Prized rookie Jack Hughes has yet to score a goal, and Taylor Hall only has one goal so far this season. Goaltending has also been suspect, with Corey Schneider and MacKenzie Blackwood both sporting a goals-against-average of over four.
Prediction: New York wins 5-1
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Boston Bruins Main Photo:
TAMPA, FL – MAY 06: Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) reacts to his goal during the second period of an NHL Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Playoffs game between the Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning on May 06, 2018, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)