Welcome to NHL Game Day Predictions! Each day, Last Word on Hockey will break down every game and give our NHL predictions for who will win. This will also include a featured game that should be must-watch hockey. Today’s featured game is the Washington Capitals vs Calgary Flames. This is the late game slate. Look for the predictions of the other games tonight here.
Edmonton Oilers vs Minnesota Wild
Head-to-Head: Oilers 0 – 0 Wild
Here are two teams that have had complete opposite starts this year. On one hand, the Minnesota Wild have had an awful start to the season. Devan Dubnyk has been atrocious this year rocking an .874 save percentage. The Wild are also averaging around two goals for a game which just isn’t going to cut it. The duo of poor goaltending and no offence has led to a brutal start. Even their head coach mentioned that he couldn’t just make the team faster. The one thing they have going for them is they are coming fresh off their second win of the season and are waiting at home.
The Edmonton Oilers, however, have had a better start than anyone could have imagined. They are a stunning 7-1-1 and seem to just keep on rolling. Connor McDavid put any questions about his knee to rest as he has done nothing but light the lamp to start this year. On top of that, Leon Draisaitl is making it known that he is also in the ‘best +players of the league’ conversation. James Neal already has more goals than he did all of last year and the Oilers look to keep it rolling. They haven’t had the toughest schedule but all credit to them to get the points where they are available.
Prediction: Oilers Win 4-1.
Los Angeles Kings vs Winnipeg Jets
Head-to-Head: Kings 0 – 0 Jets
To almost no one’s surprise, the Los Angeles Kings are last in their division this season. A team that was bad last season and didn’t do much to get better continues to struggle. They will be in tough as they take on the Winnipeg Jets who just came off of a huge 1-0 victory against the hot Oilers. The Kings have had almost 3 days off between games which could help them. Being well-rested and getting any bruises that may have been hurting will be a good thing. However, even with the Jets blueline lacking this season, the Kings will have a tough fight.
The Jets are currently second in their division despite being 5-5-0. This is mostly because they have played at least two more games than most teams in their division. However, weathering a bad injury storm early and still coming out .500 is pretty impressive. Winnipeg started the year with four games on the road and are now in game 5 of 6 in a homestand. Unfortunately, they are 1-3-0 on this homestand and look to sway the tides against an LA team that hasn’t been able to keep a puck out of their net. Jonathan Quick has been absolutely brutal so look for Winnipeg’s offence to take advantage of that.
Prediction: Jets win 6-3.
Anaheim Ducks vs Nashville Predators
Head-to-Head: Ducks 0 – 0 Predators
The Anaheim Ducks have gotten off to a solid start. This comes behind very strong performances by John Gibson who is showing why he should be considered among the NHL’s elite goaltenders. He was amazing last year until he went down with an injury. That derailed Anaheim’s season. The Ducks have tried to get better and faster under their new head coach and it appears to be paying off. They currently sit second in their division only behind the Oilers. They are 2-2-0 on the road so far this season and will look to push the pace against this Nashville Predators team.
One of the bright spots for the Predators has been Matt Duchene. He has really helped his new team early and looks to keep it up. However, the Preds have struggled to keep pucks out of their own end at times this season. It has ultimately led to a record they will look to improve upon. The Predators could be a dark horse team to make some noise this season but shoring up the defensive side of things with that very talented defence core will be key.
Prediction: Predators win 3-2 in OT.
Vegas Golden Knights vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Knights 0 – 0 Blackhawks
The Vegas Golden Knights played Monday night and got destroyed by the Philadelphia Flyers. They now have to travel to Chicago to play again 24 hours later. Not a very favourable schedule in this situation. However, it is quite possible the Knights are hungry for redemption. The fatigue will be tough but this is a very good team and getting embarrassed like that likely won’t sit well. Oscar Dansk started Monday so at least Marc-Andre Fleury should be in net tonight.
As for the Chicago Blackhawks, they have started 2-3-1 and look to bounce back from a 5-3 lost Sunday. They have struggled to keep goals out of their own net, letting up three or more in four of their six games this season. Overall, the weak Chicago defence core may not have enough to handle a Vegas attack that will be looking for a bounceback. Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty, William Karlsson and company will look to use speed to expose Chicago tonight.
Prediction: Golden Knights win 4-2.
Washington Capitals vs Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Capitals 0 – 0 Flames
We end off NHL Predictions with our featured game, the Washington Capitals vs Calgary Flames. The Flames have a 5-4-1 record but what is surprising is that two of those losses come to the LA Kings. Calgary has had some solid goaltending from David Rittich this season but has struggled to score goals consistently. Milan Lucic hasn’t lived up to what James Neal is doing down the road for Edmonton and that hasn’t helped the depth scoring issues.
As for the Capitals, their offence has been clicking all year. Braden Holtby has struggled in the net but Ilya Samsonov hasn’t exactly ran with the starters position either. The Caps will need better goaltending if they want to remain on top of the Metro this season. Overall, this should be a thrilling contest with two teams that have both high-tempo players but also some grit and toughness in the bottom of their lineups.
Prediction: Flames win 2-1.
That’s it for NHL Predictions! Be sure to tune in every day for our breakdown and preview of each game.