Welcome back to NHL Predictions, where Last Word on Hockey provides insight into all of the day’s games. In Monday, October 28th’s edition of NHL Predictions, we’ll take a look at two games on a light day of action. This article features the Florida Panthers vs Vancouver Canucks in the Roberto Luongo Bowl.
Arizona Coyotes vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Coyotes 0-0 Sabres
The Arizona Coyotes are wrapping up a four-game road trip and are 2-1 on this Eastern swing. Arizona picked up a 5-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night. Antti Raanta made 32 saves and Jason Demers doled out three assists. The Coyotes are in the middle of the pack in goals (14th), power-play (15th) and penalty killing (18th.) Their defence is one of the best in the league at 2.20 goals against. Nick Schmaltz leads the team in points with four goals and seven assists for 11 points. Darcy Kuemper had a long streak of 13 straight games of giving up two goals or less dating back to last season.
The Buffalo Sabres got back on track with a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday. Buffalo bounced back after suffering a hefty 6-2 defeat to the New York Rangers. The Sabres are seventh in the league in scoring (3.42 goals) and goals against (2.50). Buffalo’s power-play has been clicking with a 28.9-percent success rate, which is fourth in the league. Their penalty kill is 16th with an 81.1-percent success rate. Jack Eichel is leading the team with six goals and 10 assists while Victor Olofsson also has six goals. Linus Ullmark made 41 saves to post the shutout.
It’ll be interesting to see who Sabres’ coach Ralph Krueger elects to start in goal as Carter Hutton had a bad outing against the Rangers while Ullmark was excellent against the Red Wings. The Sabres have been solid in recent games and should continue that on Monday.
Prediction: Sabres win 4-2.
Florida Panthers vs Vancouver Canucks
Head-to-Head: Panthers 0-0 Canucks
Florida is coming off a 6-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday afternoon to extend its point streak to eight games. Brian Boyle and Jayce Hawryluk each netted a goal and an assist while Sergei Bobrovsky made 24 saves in net. The Panthers power play is ranked 19th at 18.8-percent while their penalty kill is ninth at 84.6-percent. Jonathan Huberdeau leads the team in points with 12. Samuel Montembeault will likely get the start because Bobrovsky started on Sunday and is 1-0-1 so far in three appearances.
Vancouver is coming off a crushing 6-5 shootout loss to the Washington Capitals after blowing a 5-1 lead. Tim Schaller scored twice, but it wasn’t enough for the Canucks to get two points. The Canucks are 17th in power-play rating with a 20.9-percent success rate and have a stout penalty kill with an 88.9-percent rating, which is good enough for third. J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson are tied for first in points with 11 and Jacob Markstrom has gotten most of the starts. Thatcher Demko could get the start as Vancouver has four games over the span of seven days.
The Canucks are seething after a humiliating loss to the Capitals. Vancouver is 6-3-1 and a win should wash the taste of a loss out of its mouth.
Prediction: Canucks win 5-3.
VANCOUVER, BC – JANUARY 13: Florida Panthers Center Aleksander Barkov (16) skates in front of Vancouver Canucks Goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) and Center Bo Horvat (53) during their NHL game at Rogers Arena on January 13, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver won 5-1. (Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)