Welcome back to NHL Game Day Predictions. Daily, Last Word on Hockey brings you a prediction and analysis of every game on the schedule. This will also feature a significant game on the schedule that is must-watch hockey. Today’s NHL Predictions featured game is the Nashville Predators vs the Chicago Blackhawks. Be sure to check out the early games NHL predictions to stay informed.
Nashville Predators vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Nashville 0 – 0 Chicago
The Nashville Predators are currently working on a three-game win streak. Their latest victory came in an overtime contest with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Predators look like one of the true contenders in the Western conference and are headlined by their defence corps. Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis are tied with 13 points each in 11 games. Nashville’s penalty-killing unit has been an area of weakness thus far. Last season they were a top-10 unit in the league but so far, they’ve only killed off 71.4% of penalties.
The Chicago Blackhawks, on the other hand, have struggled mightily this season. They currently sit at a record of 3-5-2 and recently traded Brendan Perlini. While the Blackhawks have struggled there are some things to be excited about. The team recently brought up their most recent draft pick, Kirby Dach, and he has played well in limited action. In just five games, Dach has registered a goal and an assist and is only playing an average of 11:50 a game. It should come as no surprise that Patrick Kane leads the way in scoring for the Blackhawks with 9 points in 10 games.
This game features two teams at completely different levels of play. The Predators are built to win now, while the Blackhawks are looking to reload. Chicago has some exciting pieces, but they won’t be enough in this game.
Prediction: Predators win 5-2
Detroit Red Wings vs Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Edmonton 1 – 0 Detroit
The Edmonton Oilers are the biggest surprise of the early 2019-20 NHL season. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl pace the Oilers with 21 points each. The two-headed attack has powered the Oilers to the top of the Pacific Division. McDavid and Draisaitl’s scoring acumen should not come as a surprise, but James Neal‘s early-season offensive explosion is a real shock. Neal scored 10 goals in the first 12 games of 2019-20, already surpassing his last seasons’ total. That being said, the Oilers have accomplished all of this with unsustainable power-play and shooting percentages.
The Detroit Red Wings have lost 8 games in a row and are 1-8-1 in their last 10 games. Only the New Jersey Devils have scored less in the Eastern Conference. The Red Wings top line of Tyler Bertuzzi, Dylan Larkin, and Anthony Mantha started hot but has faded in recent weeks. Detroit ranks near the bottom of the league in most statistical categories. They also recently sent down long-time defensive-stalwart Jonathan Ericsson (Though this can be considered unimportant). The Red Wings are in rebuilding mode, and it shows.
The Edmonton Oilers hot start appears to be unsustainable and the team is incredibly top-heavy. It’s only a matter of time before they start losing games. But it won’t be in this one.
Prediction: Oilers win 4-1
Dallas Stars vs Minnesota Wild
Head-to-Head: Dallas 0 – 0 Minnesota
The Dallas Stars early season struggles are one of the big disappointments of the early NHL season. After the addition of Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry, many predicted the Stars could be Stanley Cup Contenders. They currently look like anything but contenders, starting with a 4-8-1 record. If there’s any consolation it’s the strong performances of Roope Hintz and Ben Bishop. Hintz showed promise last year, particularly in the playoffs, and has delivered on that promise so far. Ben Bishop is putting together another solid campaign. The goaltender has struggled with injuries and consistency in the past but looks to be building on a season that netted him a Vezina nomination. Bishop has kept Dallas afloat with a .920 save percentage.
The Minnesota Wild are an absolute mess. They’re last in the Central division and sit at a 4-7-0 record. That being said, they have won three of their last four games. Matthew Dumba has starred for the Wild in those games, scoring a point in each of the Wild’s three wins. Dumba, along with Brad Hunt and Eric Staal, leads the Wild in scoring this year with six points in 11 games.
Neither of these teams has been good. While one is expected to be better, both are disappointing. The Dallas Stars possess the talent, and their goaltender is still elite. They get back on track in this game.
Prediction: Stars win 4-2
Anaheim Ducks vs Winnipeg Jets
Head-to-Head: Anaheim 0 – 0 Winnipeg
The Winnipeg Jets are coming off an overtime win to the Calgary Flames in the Heritage classic. The win is nice for a struggling Jets team, but it continued a troubling trend. Winnipeg has not scored more than two goals since October 12th. With a skeleton crew on the blue-line, the Jets can’t afford to be mired in an offensive slump for long. Connor Hellebuyck has kept them in games as of late posting .933 save percentage this season.
Much like the Jets, The Anaheim Ducks have been buoyed by strong goal-tending. John Gibson sits at a 4-6-0 record despite registering a .923 save percentage. The Ducks have also had difficulty putting the puck in the net, scoring just 32 goals on the season in 13 games. When the Ducks do score, it’s been by committee. Jakob Silfverberg and Hampus Lindholm are tied for the team lead with 9 points each in 13 games.
This should be a low-scoring game either way. The Jets have the capability to score at will, but that hasn’t been the case lately. If this trend continues, it’ll come down to the goaltenders. Both are playing well, but Gibson is more consistent.
Prediction: Ducks win 2-1
That’s all for NHL Predictions. Tune in each day for more.