Welcome to NHL Predictions! Each day, Last Word On Hockey will break down every game and give our NHL predictions for each game. In today’s NHL predictions, we’ll cover the five games happening on December 2nd. This will include a featured game that should be must-watch hockey. The featured game today is the St. Louis Blues vs Chicago Blackhawks.
New Jersey Devils vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Devils 0-1 Sabres
The New Jersey Devils come into the game struggling after being blanked 4-0 by the New York Rangers on Saturday. New Jersey will be without Jack Hughes for a second straight game. Taylor Hall leads the team in assists (17) and points (21). Kyle Palmieri is the team’s leading goal-scorer with nine. Mackenzie Blackwood is now the number one goalie, but Louis Domingue has played well since being picked up.
The Devils scored 2.56 goals a game and near the bottom of the league in goals allowed with 3.48. Special teams for New Jersey have been woeful as the power play has a 12.9-percent conversion rate and a 77.1 percent penalty kill. The Devils were thought to be an early darkhorse pick to make a Stanley Cup playoff run but are at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division.
The Buffalo Sabres pasted New Jersey, 7-2, during the first week of the season. Victor Olofsson scored twice in the victory as the Sabres got off to a hot start. Buffalo is coming off a 2-1 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs after John Tavares got the OT winner. Rasmus Ristolainen scored and Carter Hutton made 41 saves in the loss. Jack Eichel leads the team in goals (16), assists (19) and points (35). Hutton and Linus Ullmark split time in net for the Sabres.
Buffalo scores 2.85 goals a game and gives up 3.0 on defence. The Sabres’ special teams have also struggled with a 17.9 percent success rate on the power play and a 74.1 percent penalty kill.
Both teams have lost three of their last five, but New Jersey struggled without Hughes. Buffalo should be able to get the win.
Prediction: Sabres win 3-2
Vegas Golden Knights vs New York Rangers
Head-to-Head: Golden Knights 0-0 Rangers
The Vegas Golden Knights have won two straight games, including a 2-1 shootout win over the Arizona Coyotes. December has been kind to the young franchise as Vegas is 20-4-4 during the month. Max Pacioretty leads the team in assists (16) and points (25) while Mark Stone leads in goals with 11. Marc-Andre Fleury will return during the trip after the death of his father, but it’s unknown if he’ll be ready for Monday.
Vegas’ power play scores at a 21.1-percent clip and its penalty kill is at 84.6 percent success. The Knights score 2.86 goals per game and give up 2.89 a game.
The Rangers have been on a roll as of late as they’ve won four of their last five. Alexandar Georgiev made 33 saves and Mika Zibanejad added a goal and an assist. Artemi Panarin leads the team in all offensive categories for the Rangers and Georgiev and Henrik Lundqvist have shared time in net.
New York scores 3.32 goals a game and gives up 3.28 a game. The Rangers’ power-play has a 20-percent success rate and the penalty kill is at 76.8 percent.
Vegas is very good in December, but have struggled on the road at 6-6-1. New York is 8-4-2 at home. Expect the Rangers to keep the momentum going.
Prediction: Rangers win 4-3.
New York Islanders vs Detroit Red Wings
Head-to-Head: Islanders 0-0 Red Wings
The New York Islanders bounced back from a three-game losing streak with a 2-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves and Mathew Barzal totaled a goal and an assist for the Isles. Barzal leads the team in all offensive categories like goals (10), assists (12) and points (22). Varlamov and Thomas Greiss have formed one of the best goalie partnerships in the league as both have a 2.50 GAA or better.
New York’s power play is at 18.2 percent while the penalty kill is at 83.6 percent. The Islanders score 2.88 a game and give up a solid 2.42 per game.
The Detroit Red Wings have struggled mightily this season and are in the middle of a nine-game winless streak. Detroit lost 5-2 to the Washington Capitals on Saturday night but did break a 0-for-18 slump on the power-play. Robby Fabbri has scored two of the team’s last three goals. Anthony Mantha leads in goals (12) and points (23) for the Red Wings. Jimmy Howard has been placed on injured reserve, so Jonathan Bernier may get the nod.
The Red Wings score only 2.14 goals a game and surrender 3.93 a contest. Detroit’s special teams are struggling with a power play of 13.3 percent and a penalty kill of 72.2 percent.
The Islanders will make scoring difficult on a team that’s really in a bad spot.
Prediction: Islanders win 4-1.
St. Louis Blues vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Blues 0-0 Blackhawks
St. Louis is coming off a 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. The Blues are on a three-game winning streak and took back first place in the Central Division. David Perron leads the club in points with 27 and Brayden Schenn tops the team in goals with 13. Jordan Binnington has been excellent in goal with a 13-4-4 mark and 2.26 goals-against average.
The Blues power play converts 24.1 percent of their chances and kills 83.8 percent of penalties. St. Louis scores 3.07 goals a game and gives up 2.57.
Chicago lost both ends of a home-and-home set with the Colorado Avalanche. The Blackhawks have dropped four of their last five and are in the basement of the division. Patrick Kane has been an offensive bright spot as he leads in goals (14), assists (19) and points (33). Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner have shared time between the pipes.
The Blackhawks score 2.85 goals a game and give up 3.00 a game. Chicago’s power play has been sluggish at 13.5 percent but they kill 80.5 percent on penalties.
St. Louis is finding the form that won it a Stanley Cup last year despite injuries. The Blues should keep it going despite the Hawks’ solid goaltending.
Prediction: Blues win 4-2.
Los Angeles Kings vs Anaheim Ducks
Head-to-Head: Kings 0-0 Ducks
The Los Angeles Kings edged the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Saturday night thanks to Nikolai Prokhorkin’s game-winner and Jack Campbell’s 33 saves. Anze Kopitar leads the Kings in goals, assists, and points while Campbell has a 2.86 goals against average.
The Kings scored 2.59 goals a game and allow 3.30 a game. L.A.’s special teams aren’t that good with an 11.8 percent power play and a 75.6 percent penalty kill.
The Anaheim Ducks lost to Winnipeg on Friday night, 3-0. Anaheim and Los Angeles are both the bottom two teams in the Pacific Division thanks to recent runs. Ryan Getzlaf leads the way on offence in goals, assists, and points and John Gibson has been trying to hold it together with an 8-11-2 record and a 2.86 goals-against average.
Anaheim gets 2.86 goals a game and gives up 3.00 a game. The Ducks’ special teams are just as bad as the Kings as they have a 10 percent power play rating and defend 76.7 percent of penalties taken.
Anaheim has an extra day of rest and is 5-2 in the last seven against Los Angeles. It’ll be low-scoring, but the Ducks should get it done.
Prediction: Ducks win 2-1.
Check back again tomorrow for some more NHL Predictions.
Prediction: Ducks win 2-1.
ST. LOUIS, MO – JANUARY 02: Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (27) skates with the puck during a NHL Winter Classic hockey game between the St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks on January 02, 2017 at the Busch Stadium in Saint Louis, MO. (Photo by Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportwire)