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 will be two desert foes including the Arizona Coyotes vs the Vegas Golden Knights. Be sure to check the other NHL predictions for November 29th as well.
Detroit Red Wings vs Philadelphia Flyers
Head-to-Head: Red Wings 0 – 0 Flyers
The Detroit Red Wings are in dead last in the NHL standings but have been known to upset some pretty good teams this 2019-20 season. They have victories over the Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, and Boston Bruins. While that may seem impressive, they have three significant losing streaks to their discredit. An eight-game skid, a seven-game faltering, and a four-game slide. In their last contest, they were embarrassed by the newly revived Toronto Maple Leafs 6-0.
To say the Red Wings have some work to do is an understatement. Their offence is ranked 30th and their defence is worse at 31st… or dead last equal to their league standings. To make matters worse, their best scorer Anthony Mantha is sidelined for a couple of weeks with an injury. The Philadelphia Flyers have actually played fairly well of late. They possess a respectable 5-2-3 record in their last 10 games and are holding down the fourth position in the tough Metro Division. They only trail the division-leading Washington Capitals by eight points. The Flyers are led by Travis Konecny (24 pts), Claude Giroux (18 pts), and Sean Couturier (18 pts).
Their goaltending has been alright. Carter Hart has a 7-5-3 record with a .900 save percentage and a 2.54 goals-against average. Brian Elliott carries a 6-2-2 record with a .915 save percentage and a 2.68 GAA. Hart started off shaky but has started to find his game. They will be looking to extend their two-game winning streak against a feeble team and should have no issues doing so.
Prediction: Flyers win 5-1
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Washington Capitals
Head-to-Head: Lightning 0 – 0 Capitals
The Tampa Bay Lightning (12-8-2) are a mysterious team this season. They weren’t much better last season at this point with a 15-6-1 record. The thing to watch for is last season they only lost a single game in the month of December going 13-1-0. IF, they can duplicate that they will be back as one of the powerhouse teams in the East again. So far, that has not been true.
The Washington Capitals are leading the Metro Division with 39 points, which ties them with the Boston Bruins for the most points in the Eastern Conference. They have gone 6-2-2 in their last 10 games and are a tough team to beat. After this game, the Washington club heads to Detroit, then a three-game trip to the West coast. Being on the road doesn’t seem to bother them as they have accumulated a sterling 10-2-1 road record this year. They are a scoring machine leading the league with 3.65 goals a game. With the Lightning struggling a bit, this game could be a high-scoring event.
Prediction: Capitals win 7-4
Arizona Coyotes vs Vegas Golden Knights
Head-to-Head: Coyotes 1 – 0 Golden Knights
Back near the beginning of the season on October 10th, the Coyotes defeated the Golden Knights 4-1 at Gila River Arena. Conor Garland gathered two goals, so you know he will be ready to go for this game. The Desert Dogs will be anxious to play their desert opponents for this one. They have a 6-3-1 record in their last 10 games, while the struggling Vegas team has the opposite record at 3-3-1. Garland is the team leader in goals (10) and Christian Dvorak is right behind him with eight.
Playing in T-Mobile Arena is always a challenge while also being an entertaining event. The Coyotes need to focus on the fact that they beat the Vegas club last time with Marc-Andre Fleury not playing. He is out again on a personal matter, so the Arizona team needs to use that to their advantage. They trail the Pacific Division-leading Edmonton Oilers by just two points. A win would be huge. This is why it is NHL Predictions featured game of the night.
The Vegas Golden Knights need to start playing better hockey. It’s as simple (or is it complicated) as that. They are going to miss their star goalie but must concentrate on playing more competitive hockey. The trio of Max Pacioretty (25 pts), Mark Stone (23 pts), and William Karlsson (23 pts) need to get their offence going again. Better yet, their defence which ranks 25th must defend better, especially without Fleury. The Vegas team, usually a good home team, is only at 6-5-3 this season. The Coyotes are an excellent road team with an 8-3-1 record.
Prediction: Coyotes win 5-3
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Head-to-Head: Penguins 1 – 0 Blue Jackets
Back on October 5th, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets decidedly 7-2. Sidney Crosby collected two assists. He won’t be playing as he has been out since November 10th with a lower-body injury. He required surgery and will be lost for six weeks. In the eight games without Crosby, the team has done reasonably well, going 4-1-3. Needless to say, they really need their captain and heart of the team back in the lineup. Evgeni Malkin is taking up the scoring slack as demonstrated by his five-point effort in their last game against the Vancouver Canucks. Still, how much longer will they be able to survive without Crosby?
The Blue Jackets have gone 5-4-1 in their last 10 games, but are in seventh place in the Metro Division. They have made strides of late, but have lost so many key players due to free agency, that it may take some time to recover. Their defence is solid placing 14th in the NHL, but their offence leaves lots of improvement. Scoring just 2.54 goals a game is not getting it done. They rank 29th in that stat. It’s no wonder, without Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene, and Ryan Dzingel the goals are not going in the net.
Prediction: Penguins win 2-1 in OT
Nashville Predators vs Carolina Hurricanes
Head-to-Head: Predators 0 – 0 Hurricanes
The Nashville Predators are struggling to say the least. Once thought of as team headed towards a Cup, they are not playing well at all. During a recent six-game losing streak they allowed over five goals a game. You’re not about to win many games with that porous of a defence. They’ve fallen to 22nd in the league in goals allowed, so they have their work cut out for them. Pekka Rinne is certainly not playing like his usual self. His 8-4-2 record is fine but his .889 save percentage and 3.06 goals-against average is subpar for him. Perhaps if the defence played better, Rinne will have a fighting chance.
The Carolina Hurricanes are staying in it, just eight points behind the leading Capitals. They have been very inconsistent in that they will lose four, win four and haven’t been able to put it all together. They’re seventh in scoring and eighth in defence, so they are a quality team. Andrei Svechnikov has done very well compared to last season when he only had 37 points in 82 games. Thus far this season he already has 28 points in 25 games. Another top performer is their rearguard, Dougie Hamilton who has an amazing 26 points in 25 games.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 4-2
St. Louis Blues vs Dallas Stars
Head-to-Head: Blues 1 – 0 Stars
These two Central Division foes met in the second game of the season with the St. Louis Blues winning 3-2. The Blues have been 5-2-3 in their last ten games and sit on top of the Western Conference with 36 points. They are playing without their star player Vladimir Tarasenko who will be lost most of the season. It’s something about winning a Cup that makes a team tougher, and the Blues are proving that they can still compete. However, having three players on the injured reserve does not fare well for them. Eventually, things begin to come apart at the seams.
The Dallas Stars have really turned things around. They just recently pulled off seven straight wins before getting shut out by the Chicago Blackhawks. The key to this turnaround has been their defence which is now ranked third in the NHL. While both scoring stars Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn are not tearing up the league with 11 goals between them, they have caught fire a bit and has certainly helped. The Stars can come to within two points of the Blues, so this is a key game for them.
Prediction: Stars win 3-2 in a shootout
Be sure to check back in daily for more NHL predictions.