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 the Pittsburgh Penguins vs the St. Louis Blues. Be sure to check the other NHL predictions for November 30th as well.
Carolina Hurricanes vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 1 – 0 Lightning
The two Eastern Conference foes faced each other back on October 6th with the Carolina Hurricanes winning 4-3 in overtime. They started the 2019-20 season with five consecutive wins including two overtime affairs and a shootout. They have dropped off to an unimpressive 10-10-1 heading into their contest on Saturday night. In their last 10 games they are 6-4. If the playoffs were to start now they would control the second wild-card position in the Eastern Conference. The Canes score 3.23 goals a game while allowing 2.85. While they’re not playing that well of late, they only trail the first-place Washington Capitals by ten points with a game in hand.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are just not doing as well as most expected. While they are still playing good hockey, the cream of the Atlantic Division Boston Bruins are 14 points ahead of the Lightning going into Saturday’s action. Before the season began the Lightning seemed caught up in doing better than they’re embarrassing first-round elimination in the playoffs last season. While Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, and Victor Hedman are all scoring a point a game or better, the club hasn’t made their move to get near the head of the pack. They must play the Capitals Friday night before this matchup with the Canes.
Prediction: Lightning win 5-2
Columbus Blue Jackets vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 0 – 1 Islanders
The Columbus Blue Jackets lost to the New York Islanders back on October 19th 3-2 in overtime. The Jackets are just one game above the .500 mark and that won’t allow them to make up any ground. In fact, the New Jersey Devils are only four points from getting out of the Metro Division basement. That doesn’t bode well for the Columbus club having to play a hot team like the Islanders. Columbus just doesn’t have the guns anymore to compete with the quality teams. They’ll discover that when they take the ice for this game.
The New York Islanders went on a crazy run of 17 games without a regulation defeat. Not many teams can do that. They have come back down to earth since then losing to the Anaheim Ducks and the lowly Los Angeles Kings. Playing this game may allow them to get back on the winning track again. The Blue Jackets may smell blood knowing that the Islanders dropped two games they really should have won in California. This is quite the mismatch and should be an easy victory for the Islanders.
Prediction: Islanders win 7-2
San Jose Sharks vs Arizona Coyotes
Head-to-Head: Sharks 0 – 0 Coyotes
The San Jose Sharks have played their share of overtime contests this season already. They have played six overtime games, winning five of them. Overall, the last 10 games they’ve gone 8-2. One could say they’ve turned things around after a pretty treacherous start of 4-10-1. The Sharks played the Los Angeles Kings Friday night, so they are playing back-to-back games. Although the Sharks have turned it around, their goaltending is still struggling. The combined stats of a .891 save percentage and a 3.25 goals-against average is nothing to get too excited about.
The Arizona Coyotes have moved to within one point of the Pacific Division-leading Edmonton Oilers and have been riding the excellent goaltending of Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta. They may not be too happy that star Phil Kessel has only scored four goals this season and were counting on him for more production. That would put Kessel on pace to score just 12 goals. That’s not enough. While second-year forward Conor Garland is playing well, is it enough to sustain their current status? The defence is stingy just allowing 2.26 goals a game. The Coyotes were 2-1-1 against their Bay area foes last season.
Prediction: Coyotes win 4-3
Pittsburgh Penguins vs St. Louis Blues
Head-to-Head: Penguins 0 – 0 Blues
* This is the featured game of NHL predictions
The Pittsburgh Penguins are another team playing back-to-back games as they faced Columbus on Friday night and turnaround to go up against the Cup champs in this game. Playing without key players due to injury… the most noteworthy being that of Sidney Crosby, the Pens are hanging in there. They won three straight before losing to Columbus on Friday night 5-2. They’ve gone 5-2-3 in their last 10 games. Jake Guentzel is leading the Penguins with 15 goals, 12 assists on a point a game pace. Still, not having Crosby is going to hurt them eventually.
The reigning Cup champion St. Louis Blues are sit on top of the Central Division and have gone 5-2-3 in their last 10 games. Of course the Blues are missing their star player Vladimir Tarasenko due injury as well. It’s just too bad that two of the premier players in the game are both down with injuries. The Blues have done well without Tarasenko, but they must be hearing the footsteps behind them. The Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets, and Colorado Avalanche are within striking distance.
Prediction: Blues win 2-1 in a shootout
Chicago Blackhawks vs Colorado Avalanche
Head-to-Head: Blackhawks 0 – 0 Avalanche
The Chicago Blackhawks have gone 5-3-2 in their last 10 games and find themselves just four points out of the final wild-card position in the Western Conference. Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford have been splitting time between the pipes and it has been effective. Their combined .926 save percentage along with a good 2.58 goals-against average is encouraging. They just need to score more. They lost Dylan Strome to a concussion, so who knows how long he’ll be out.
The Colorado Avalanche are expecting Mikko Rantanen back for this game and that should give the Av’s a huge boost. While they are still without their captain, Gabriel Landeskog, getting Rantanen back has got to relieve some of the pressure which has been put upon Nathan MacKinnon‘s shoulders with both of his linemates gone due to injuries. The Avalanche will fall on the Blackhawks.
Prediction: Avalanche win 5-3
Winnipeg Jets vs Los Angeles Kings
Head-to-Head: Jets 0 – 1 Kings
The Winnipeg Jets have won eight of 10 and seem to be playing much better lately. Both Patrik Laine (25 pts) and Kyle Connor (21 pts) are showing that they deserved those new contracts they signed right before the season began. Connor Hellebuyck is really making a difference in net. He owns a 13-7-1 record with an outstanding .933 save percentage to go along with a 2.23 save percentage. The Jets have finally been cleared for takeoff.
The Los Angeles Kings are still in the basement of the Pacific Division but are starting to look a bit improved. They’re only seven points from a wild-card spot and things are a bit brighter in Tinsel-town. Anze Kopitar is looking like his old self with 10 goals, and 17 assists in 26 games. Their goaltending and defence need to improve if they expect to make any headway. The duo of Jonathan Quick and Jack Campbell only has a combined .883 save percentage and has allowed 3.27 goals a game.
Prediction: Jets win 6-3
Vancouver Canucks vs Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Canucks 0 – 1 Oilers
The Vancouver Canucks have fallen on hard times lately. Their 3-6-1 record over the last 10 games tells a lot. They’ve been blowing leads and that’s never a good thing. They allowed five unanswered goals (the worst kind) to the Penguins and lost in a wild game, 8-6. This will be the last game of a gruelling six-game road trip. So far they’ve gone 2-3, so things could be worse. This is a talented young team, who needs to learn more discipline when they get a lead.
The Edmonton Oilers are just barely holding on to their Pacific Division lead. The Coyotes are right behind them and closing in slowly. This game is a rare home-and-home series with the Oilers hosting this game followed by a rematch in Vancouver on December 1st. What a dynamic duo the Oilers possess with Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid leading the league in scoring with 48 and 47 points respectively. The Oilers will be tough to stop… or better stated the Draisaitl/McDavid train will be tough to slow down. Good luck Canucks!
Prediction: Oilers win 6-3
Be sure to check again tomorrow for another edition of NHL predictions.