Welcome to NHL Predictions! Each day, Last Word On Hockey will break down every game and give our NHL predictions for each game. This will also include a featured game that should be must-watch hockey. Tonight’s featured game is the New York Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning. This is the early game slate of NHL predictions. Be sure and check out the late games too.
Carolina Hurricanes vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 0-0 Sabres
This is the first of three matchups between the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres. The next games will not happen again until later on in the season when these two teams play a home-and-home series. The Hurricanes are hitting the road for three games after getting back in the win column against the Ottawa Senators on Monday night. After a hot start, the Hurricanes have come back to Earth a bit. Before the win on Monday, the Hurricanes were in the midst of a four-game losing streak. The strength of the Hurricanes this season is their defence led by Dougie Hamilton. Hamilton leads the team in points with 19. One of the team’s leading goal scorers Erik Haula remains sidelined. However, players like Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, and Ryan Dzingel have picked up the slack. The team is hoping Haula can return soon.
Just like the Hurricanes, the Sabres have come back down to Earth. The Sabres have lost five straight games as they come back home after two games in Sweden. It is always tough for a team to come home after a road trip. Hopefully the week off allowed the Sabres to catch up on recovery. This will be no easy task for the Sabres. The Hurricanes sit one point ahead on the Sabres in the standings. Both teams this season have been pegged to make the playoffs. This matchup has the makings for one of those three-point games. The Sabres need to find offence which has been lacking in their five-game losing streak.
Prediction: Hurricanes Win 3-2
New York Rangers vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head-to-Head: Rangers 1-0 Lightning
This is our NHL predictions featured early game of the night.
This is the second of three matchups between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning. In the first matchup, the Rangers defeated the Lightning by a score of 4-1 behind a stellar performance by Alexandar Georgiev. Coming into the season, there were not many expectations on the Rangers. The fact they are competing every night is a good sign of things to come. Since the calendar has flipped to November, the Rangers have picked up points in five of six games including their last four games. New addition Artemi Panarin has made a world of difference on offence as Mika Zibanejad continues to deal with an injury. The kids in Kaapo Kakko and Adam Fox are coming into their own. Kakko has points in two straight games. It took him some time but he is finally adjusting to playing in the NHL.
On the other side of things, the Lightning have not been able to get over their loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Right now, it is all mental for this team. Steven Stamkos called them out earlier in the season for their poor play. The Lightning were able to take both games from the Sabres in Sweden but now return home to play a Rangers team that is playing some good hockey. Maybe the trip to Europe was exactly what the Lightning needed. Victor Hedman returned to the lineup and they looked like the team that won 60 plus games last season. With expectations being high the past few seasons, the fact the team is going through some adversity will help them in the long run.
Prediction: Lightning win 3-1
Winnipeg Jets vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Jets 0-0 Panthers
This is the first of two matchups between the Winnipeg Jets and Florida Panthers. The Jets embark on a four-game road trip after going 2-2 on their recent homestand. Winnipeg did pick up five of eight points, however, lost their final home game by a score of 4-0 to the Colorado Avalanche. The Jets are playing some good hockey as of late. Players returning from injury helped bolster a weak defence corps. The Jets remain without Bryan Little in the lineup. He brought so much value to the Jets the way he could play in any situation. The reason the Jets are having some success is the play of Connor Hellebuyck. He has raised his level of play.
Coming into the season, the Panthers had high expectations. Things got off to a slow start, but the Panthers have played better as of late. The Panthers were able to able to pull off back-to-back shootout victories on the road against the Rangers and Boston Bruins. The Bruins victory was impressive as they trailed 4-0 entering the third period. However, one thing that needs to be better is the play of Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky was brought in to make this team a contender and through the first month and a half, he has looked average at best. He has to play better for the Panthers to have a shot of making the playoffs. The Panthers will look to carry their momentum into Thursday night’s contest.
Prediction: Jets Win 2-1
Arizona Coyotes vs Minnesota Wild
Head-to-Head: Wild 1-0 Coyotes
This is the second matchup between the Arizona Coyotes and Minnesota Wild in less than a week. In the first matchup, the Coyotes came up short losing to the Wild by a score of 4-3. After that loss, the Coyotes have picked up back-to-back shootout victories over the Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues. The goaltending tandem of Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper has the Coyotes sitting in second place in the Pacific Division. Rick Tocchet and his staff have got the Coyotes playing some good hockey. The Coyotes are playing as a team, but one impressive player has been Conor Garland, who leads the team with eight goals.
The Wild are still at the bottom of the Western Conference standings after going 2-2 on the road. They return home for this rematch against the Coyotes. As mentioned before it is never easy playing that first game back after a long road trip. Being one of the clubhouse leaders in goal differential at -16 is not a good thing. The goaltending has not been great for the Wild this season. However, Bill Guerin remains patient with this team and will not make any hasty decisions. The Wild played well against the Coyotes in the first game, but this time around it could be a different story against a team that is playing well.
Prediction: Coyotes Win 3-2
That does it for NHL predictions for November 14th, check back tomorrow for another edition.
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