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. Tonight’s featured game is the Buffalo Sabres vs San Jose Sharks. The other game day predictions today can be found here.
* All statistics stated are as of 10-18-19 before games are played
Buffalo Sabres vs San Jose Sharks Predictions and More
Buffalo Sabres vs San Jose Sharks
Head-to-Head: Sabres 0-0 Sharks
This coast-to-coast matchup features a surprise team in the Buffalo Sabres who are leading the Atlantic Division with 13 points. They possess a 6-1-1 record and are undefeated at home going 4-0. They travel to northern California for this game hoping that their early-season performance is no fluke. This is a strange home-and-home series with the two teams meeting in Buffalo on October 22nd.
The Sabres are paced by their star player Jack Eichel who has four goals and 10 points in eight games. Right behind him is the first overall pick of last year Rasmus Dahlin who has nine points. The Sabres are winners of four of their last five games and will want to continue with their good play.
It seems that new head coach Ralph Krueger has got the Sabres playing well. This is not the same team that had a 10-game winning streak last season only to fall off a cliff and do a tailspin afterwards.
The San Jose Sharks have recovered from their awful start to win their last three games after dropping four straight to start the 2019-20 campaign. Their last win over the Carolina Hurricanes was by a 5-2 margin with bad-boy Evander Kane gathering a hat trick and an assist to show he really can concentrate and play hockey.
After this game the Sharks go on a five-game east coast road trip covering eight days. If they can come out of that trip with some wins they come back home to play six straight games in the Shark Tank.
Prediction: Sabres win 4-2
Calgary Flames vs Los Angeles Kings
Head-to-Head: Flames 0-1 Kings
The Calgary Flames have already met the Los Angeles Kings on October 8th when Drew Doughty scored an overtime goal to give the Kings a 4-3 victory. The Flames sit fourth in the Pacific Division with nine points and a 4-3-1 record. Johnny Gaudreau leads the Flames with seven points and Elias Lindholm has five goals with Matthew Tkachuk collecting five assists thus far.
The Flames have not been lighting the league on fire exactly but it’s still early. They did manage to get their young prospect Tkachuk signed after some consternation. He adds some definite grit and muscle to the team. The main concern for the Flames is can goalie David Rittich play as well as last season and will back-up Cam Talbot be able to act as a good alternative?
The Los Angeles Kings are still trying to find their way out of the doldrums of the Pacific Division and thus far have not shown much success. They have only scored two goals in their last three games, being shutout in the last two. Scoring has been their downfall and at least thus far this season things haven’t improved much. The defence is nothing to write home about either as their two goalies, Jonathan Quick and Jack Campbell have a combined save percentage of .849 and have allowed 4.33 goals per game.
Prediction: Flames win 5-1
Florida Panthers vs Nashville Predators
Head-to-Head: Panthers 0-0 Predators
The Florida Panthers take their 2-2-2 record into Music City hoping to show they are a different team this season. Many have predicted that the Panthers will get to the postseason for the first time since the 2015-16 season. Led by Mike Hoffman who has five goals and eight points they also added goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. So far Bob has not played all that well with a 2-2-1 record showing an .870 save percentage and allowing 3.90 goals per game. The Panthers gave him a healthy contract worth $70 million for seven years and must be wondering when he will start earning it.
The Nashville Predators are at a 4-3 record and have lost games to some weak teams. They couldn’t solve the Detroit Red Wings or the Los Angeles Kings. They lost to the Arizona Coyotes leading up to this matchup. They have added the talented Matt Duchene to their lineup and he has produced with two goals and nine points so far.
Most feel the Predators will be there in the end and are a good quality team. Filip Forsberg has contributed five goals and eight points but how much will the loss of P.K. Subban affect this team’s success?
Prediction: Predators win 3-2 in overtime
Ottawa Senators vs Arizona Coyotes
Head-to-Head Senators 0-0 Coyotes
The Ottawa Senators are well… the Ottawa Senators. They have a less than admirable 1-4-1 record and have surprised a couple of opponents. They managed to defeat the superior Tampa Bay Lightning and took the Vegas Golden Knights to a shootout Thursday night before losing but still gaining a single point against a tough team.
This team struggles to score and if the Arizona Coyotes can use that to their advantage, the Senators will be an easy game for them to win. The Senators do have Brady Tkachuk so they can still be tough to play against.
The Coyotes after losing their first two games have exhibited some offensive firepower which they previously lacked. Phil Kessel bagged two goals in the win against the Predators and Christian Dvorak has had three goals in two games. The Coyotes have a tight defence with excellent goaltending and now have found their powerplay which had been lost in the desert until recently.
That’s bad news for the Senators.
Prediction: Coyotes win 5-2
Dallas Stars vs Philadelphia Flyers
Head-to-Head Stars 0-0 Flyers
What is going on with the Dallas Stars? They have an anemic 1-6-1 record and this for a team which many predicted would be competing for the Cup. They won’t be doing much of that if they continue to underachieve. This team added Joe Pavelski yet he has only one goal and two points in eight games. Corey Perry returned to play in the Stars last loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets but how much will he contribute to the Stars inept scoring issues? Things may not improve for the Stars as they face the Pittsburgh Penguins and Flyers in back-to-back games on the road.
The Philadelphia Flyers after winning their first two games have lost three straight games on the road acquiring only a single point in an overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks. They need to hit the Stars while they’re down and make Gritty happy.
This game may be which team wants to escape from mediocrity first.
Prediction: Flyers win 4-2
New York Islanders vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Head-to-Head Islanders 0-0 Blue Jackets
The New York Islanders go into this contest with a three-game winning streak including two overtime games, after losing three of their first four games. The Islanders have young Mathew Barzal who has six points and three goals in the team’s first seven games. The Islanders have been a strong defensive team with exceptional goaltending.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are 3-3 on the year and are trying to exist without some key players like Antemi Paranin, Matt Duchene, Bobrovsky, and Ryan Dzingel. So being .500 may not be that bad. They will need to play back-to-back games facing the Chicago Blackhawks before this matchup with the Islanders.
This is a battle of two teams still tying to find their way in this new season.
Prediction: Islanders win 3-1