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 Washington Capitals vs. Boston Bruins. There are seven other NHL predictions in another article, so be sure and check out those games too.
Washington Capitals vs Boston Bruins
Head-to-Head: Capitals 0-0 Bruins
*This is NHL Predictions featured game
These two division leaders have not faced each other yet this 2019-20 season. The Capitals lead the NHL with 32 points and seem to be heading towards another challenge for the Cup. They faced the Montreal Canadiens on Friday night after playing two consecutive shootouts, winning one and losing one. This game will be the second of back-to-back games for the Caps. Their potent offence scores almost four goals per game (3.95) and can dominate any game anytime. What the Bruins must determine is how do you stop Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson who have combined for 53 points? Good luck with that.
The Boston Bruins after winning six straight games have fallen to a 0-2-2 record over their last four games including two consecutive shootout losses. They too must play back-to-back games facing their nemesis opponent the Toronto Maple Leafs Friday night. The Bruins top line of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron have accounted for 48 percent of the points scored by the team. They’ll need that offence running full charge to overcome their losing streak.
This could be an offensive display classified as a must-watch game.
Prediction: Bruins win 5-4 in OT
New York Rangers vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Rangers 0-1 Panthers
These two teams met on November 10th and the Panthers came away with a 6-5 victory in a shootout. The New York Rangers started the 2019-20 season with a dismal 2-4-1 record and since have gone 6-3-1 to improve their destiny. The additions of Artemi Panarin and second overall selection Kaapo Kakko have helped this team. But, certainly, Ryan Strome‘s contributions can’t be ignored. His five goals, 11 assists in 17 games is encouraging. The Rangers most certainly are licking their wounds from the thumping from the Tampa Bay Lightning by the tune of a 9-3 score in their last game. The Rangers need to refocus and forget that last game.
The Florida Panthers certainly have no difficulty scoring with Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau leading the way with 25 and 24 points respectively. Their issue is their defence. Giving up 3.74 goals a game places them next to last in that category. The Florida club certainly had hoped to see better statistics from their prize free-agent goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Thus far he has only shown a .870 save percentage with a 3.90 goals-against average. If the Panthers can tighten up their defence they stand a good chance to be a threat to make the playoffs.
Prediction: Panthers win 4-2
New York Islanders vs Philadelphia Flyers
Head-to-Head: Islanders 1-0 Flyers
These two teams have met already this season with the New York Islanders taking a 5-3 win on October 27th. Make no mistake about it, the Islanders are for real. They proved it by winning 10 straight games and currently only trail the Capitals by just five points with three games in hand. This team has excellent coaching with Barry Trotz leading the way. They are disciplined defensively and win close games. They have now won 12 of their last 13 games and are dominating. Look for that to continue.
The Philadelphia Flyers have done extremely well this season accumulating 23 points thus far. They have been the participant of overtime games quite a bit of late. They have been involved in six overtime affairs out of their last seven games coming up with wins in four of them. Travis Konecny is leading the way in scoring with eight goals and 11 assists in their 17 games. The Flyers will experience a challenge in facing the Islanders.
Prediction: Islanders win 3-0
Anaheim Ducks vs St. Louis Blues
Head-to-Head: Ducks 0-0 Blues
The Anaheim Ducks have hit the wall of late. They have dropped five consecutive games including two in overtime. They seem to rely on the excellent goaltending provided by John Gibson a bit too much. While his 6-9 record with a .911 save percentage and a 2.96 goals-against average are not especially outstanding, the lack of support he receives is limited. The Ducks certainly don’t need to face the tough Blues while in this funk, but that’s the schedule.
The St. Louis Blues are advancing nicely even without their star forward Vladimir Tarasenko. Since he fell to injury and will be lost most of the season, the Blues have not missed a note (get it?) and have gone 8-1-2. They are proving that they are true Cup champs who can prevail even under adversity.
Prediction: Blues win 5-1
Chicago Blackhawks vs Nashville Predators
Head-to-Head: Blackhawks 0-1 Predators
The Chicago Blackhawks are starting to turn things around lately. They have turned things around to the tune of a 5-2-2 record and have shown signs they are ready to be more competitive. Robin Lehner has played well with a 4-3-2 record. His .934 save percentage is excellent and his 2.96 goals against could use some improvement. Patrick Kane is… well, his usual self and leads the team with nine goals, 14 assists. The ‘Hawks could take advantage of a Nashville team who has struggled.
The Nashville Predators have had a rough time losing five of six including two overtime/shootout losses. When you examine the Predators scoring leaders you’ll see that the two leaders are both defencemen. Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis lead the way with 18 and 16 points respectively. If the forwards can step up and allow the D-men to defend the Preds may improve.
Prediction: Blackhawks win 5-4
Colorado Avalanche vs Vancouver Canucks
Head-to-Head: Avalanche 0-0 Canucks
The Colorado Avalanche have been decimated with injuries, yet they are showing their persistence to persevere. After losing five in a row, they have rebounded back with three wins in their last four games. That is admirable since they are missing two of their top forwards and starting goalie. At this point, they can only be patient and wait until they get back their go-to guys. Once that happens they will be able to compete at a higher level.
The Vancouver Canucks have not exactly been setting the hockey world on fire of late either. They have dropped five of six including an overtime loss. They have a young and talented team who had looked to be on the rise this season. This could just be a slight hiccup towards their goal to get to the postseason this year.
Prediction: Avalanche win 4-3
Detroit Red Wings vs San Jose Sharks
Head-to-Head: Red Wings 0-0 Sharks
The Detroit Red Wings have had a rough season thus far. Two losing streaks of seven and four games have set them back. Of late they have done much better with 3-0-1 record and have appeared as spoilers in many games. Some opponents may have taken them for granted expecting an easy win when they get victimized by the Wings.
It’s tough to win games when your offence is ranked 29th and your defence is dead last. Anthony Mantha has shown the promise that the team had in him from the start. He’s scoring at a point-per-game pace with 21 points including 11 goals. Allowing 3.71 goals per game is not a good plan for success.
The San Jose Sharks have finally seemed to have found their game. After losing five straight games, they have won five in a row to make up some lost ground to a slow 0-4 start. Tomas Hertl is leading the way with 10 goals, 11 assists in 20 games. The issue at hand is the Sharks are not very good defensively allowing 70 goals placing them 29th in that statistic. They may just keep that winning streak alive against an underwhelming Wings’ team.
Prediction: Sharks win 6-2