Welcome back to NHL Predictions! Each day, the Last Word on Hockey team 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 Winnipeg Jets vs. Dallas Stars. This is the late game slate of NHL Predictions. Be sure and check out the early games too.
San Jose Sharks vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Head-to-Head: Sharks 1 – 0 Hurricanes
This is the final meeting of the season between the San Jose Sharks and Carolina Hurricanes. In the first meeting, the Sharks defeated the Hurricanes by a score of 5-2. The Sharks ended the Hurricanes seven-game winning streak to begin the season. In that meeting, the Sharks were looking to get on track, which they did. The Sharks a four-game road trip out East and want to continue racking up the points. The Sharks are trending in the right direction finally. While they are still on the outside looking in on the playoff picture, they are finally playing up to expectations. Not to mention Martin Jones is playing at a high level once again. Having good goaltending has allowed the Sharks to settle down and play their style.
The Hurricanes are holding the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Carolina is trying to find their mojo again as the team has lost three of their last four games. The Hurricanes will want to play on home ice before hitting the road for five games through Canada and Colorado. Carolina will want to increase their lead in the standings. Andrei Svechnikov leads the team in points with 29 points as Sebastian Aho leads the team in goals with 13. If the Hurricanes have hopes of winning this game their goaltending has to be better. James Reimer played well enough against Boston but lost. On the other hand, Petr Mrazek needs to be better. And usually, Mrazek gets the nod on home ice.
Prediction: Sharks win 4-2.
New York Rangers vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
Head-to-Head: Rangers 0 – 0 Blue Jackets
This is the first of four meetings between the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets. Artemi Panarin is coming back to Columbus for the first time since signing as a free agent with the Rangers in the off-season. Panarin has been great since coming to the Rangers. He leads the team with 33 points (12 goals and 21 assists) and will want to score against his former team. He will need to keep his emotions in check as the Blue Jackets will most likely honour him. Two other players to keep an eye on entering this game are Tony DeAngelo and Mika Zibanejad. And while Kaapo Kakko is getting all the attention rookie defenceman Adam Fox is making a name for himself this season as well.
The Blue Jackets sit behind the Rangers in the standings. Everyone knew it would be a tough year for the Blue Jackets. However, they are one of the teams that are keeping things competitive every night. Even if they lose, Columbus plays hard every night. John Tortorella will not allow his players to do anything less. Pierre-Luc Dubois leads the team with 18 points and is proving to be a top centre in the league. This will be a tough Metro Division matchup for the Blue Jackets. However, Panarin’s former team will be up for the challenge.
Prediction: Rangers win 3-1.
Winnipeg Jets vs. Dallas Stars
Head-to-Head: Jets 2 – 1 Stars
This our NHL predictions featured late game of the night.
This is the fourth and final meeting of the season between the Winnipeg Jets and Dallas Stars. The Jets lead the season series 2-1after their 5-1 victory Tuesday night against the Stars in Winnipeg. Their season series played out in less than a month. The first two games were close before the Jets opened the flood gates on Dallas on Tuesday. Winnipeg will want to take the season series from the Stars. The Jets have won three of their last four games as they march on the standings. They are doing it with a makeshift defence that has lost Dmitry Kulikov until at least the All-Star break. Give credit to Paul Maurice and the coaching staff for not throwing in the towel. Not to mention Connor Hellebuyck is playing to his level once again.
The Stars are reeling after their 12-game point streak. Dallas has lost four straight games as they cling to the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference. While the Stars got back to playing team-first hockey, their goaltending has been subpar in the last four games. After their latest loss to Winnipeg, the players felt they let Anton Khudobin down. Will Ben Bishop be able to right the ship against a red-hot Jets team. Each team has held their respective home ice in the season series so far. The pattern would say the Stars will win on Thursday night, but the Jets just seem too strong. It is a tight game for sure.
Prediction: Jets win 3-2 in overtime.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Flames 1 – 0 Sabres
This is the second and final meeting of the season between the Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames. The Flames took the first game last Wednesday in Buffalo by a score of 3-2 in overtime. Buffalo will want a little bit of revenge. After their 7-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night, the Sabres hit the road for three games through Western Canada. Jack Eichel is a player the Flames will want to watch. He has 38 points (17 goals and 21 assists) in 28 games. Eichel is on a 10-game point streak which includes nine goals and 10 assists over that period. Buffalo is finding a resurgence as they sit in third place in a tough Atlantic Division.
Calgary looked like a different team against the Sabres considering the whole mess surrounding Bill Peters. Geoff Ward has got his team focused on playing in the here and now. The Flames are amid a three-game homestand. Already with a win under their belts, the Flames will want to get wins in all three games. The Flames have underachieved this season, to say the least. The Western Conference is tight, so picking up wins on home ice will be huge for them to climb back into the race. Both teams are coming off wins, so something will have to give.
Prediction: Flames win 4-3.
This does it for NHL Predictions for the late games on December 5th, check back tomorrow for another edition.
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