Welcome back to NHL Predictions, where Last Word on Hockey provides insight into all of the day’s games. In Friday, November 1st’s edition of NHL Predictions, we’ll take a look at eight games, split into two separate articles. This article features the day’s early games, including the featured game: the Tampa Bay Lightning vs the New York Islanders. Be sure to tune in to the late-game NHL Predictions as well.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Islanders
Head to Head: Lightning 0 – 0 Islanders
It has been a somewhat disappointing season for fans of the Tampa Bay Lightning so far. The team is currently 6-4-2 and would be out of the playoffs if they started tomorrow. The Lightning have looked like an entirely different team compared to the squad that had the best regular season in NHL history a year ago. Now they take on one of the best defensive teams in the NHL.
The New York Islanders have been a very consistent team since Barry Trotz took over as bench boss. The Islanders have given up only 27 goals in 11 games, good for second-best in the NHL. While this game is sure to be a fun one to watch, Tampa Bay has the edge. The Islanders have been the better team play, however, the Lightning have better talent and it gives them a better opportunity to win tonight.
Prediction: Lightning win 3-2
Philadelphia Flyers vs New Jersey Devils
Head to Head: Flyers 1 – 0 Devils
The New Jersey Devils have some of the NHL’s best talent in Taylor Hall and P.K. Subban. However, they lack a fair amount of other places. Cory Schneider has been a disappointment this season and MacKenzie Blackwood has not been particularly good either. If this team wants to win games, they need to improve the play in the net.
The Philadelphia Flyers are in a tough situation. Not much is expected of them and they are hoping to turn things around soon. Thankfully, the Flyers may have found an answer to their revolving door of goaltenders in Carter Hart. The only drawback is that he has struggled so far this season with a 3.32 GAA and .864 sv% in seven games. He needs to develop more.
Prediction: Philadelphia wins 4-2
Buffalo Sabres vs Washington Capitals
Head to Head: Sabres 0 – 0 Capitals
The hot start for the Buffalo Sabres could be put on hold for a tough matchup against the Washington Capitals. Scoring depth has been somewhat lacking in Buffalo for some time now. Goaltending has also been an issue since the departure of Ryan Miller. But now with Carter Hutton in net and the development of Casey Mittelstadt and Victor Olofsson, things are looking up for the Sabres.
John Carlson has been on fire in the offensive zone for the Washington Capitals. He has 23 points over 14 games for the Capitals. The next closest defenceman in scoring has been Morgan Rielly, who is currently on a point per game pace. Carlson’s offensive prowess has been an impressive one to watch but it might not be enough to get this team past the Sabres.
Prediction: Buffalo wins 4-3
Detroit Red Wings vs Carolina Hurricanes
Head to Head: Red Wings 0 – 0 Hurricanes
Not many people expect much of the Detroit Red Wings this season. They have struggled to stop the puck from going into their net. Given time to rebuild the team, Detroit can turn things around under the leadership of Steve Yzerman. But for now, things are not looking too good. Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, and Tyler Bertuzzi have been the main bright spots on a bleak roster.
There was some question on if the success of the Carolina Hurricanes from last season would continue into this season. Those questions have been put to bed for now as the Canes have a record of 8-3-1, good for second place in the Metropolitan Division. Depth scoring and defence has been the name of the game in Raleigh and it should be again against a weak Red Wings unit.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 5-0
That does it for the early game NHL predictions for November 1st. Be sure to read the late game predictions and check back tomorrow for more predictions.