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 four games happening on December 9th. This will include a featured game that should be must-watch hockey. The featured NHL Predictions game today is the Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Islanders.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Washington Capitals
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 0 – 0 Capitals
The Washington Capitals have been one of the hottest teams in the league with six straight wins. Their last outing was a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday. Jakub Vrana got the game-winner for the Caps and Braden Holtby stopped 27 shots in the win. Nicklas Backstrom is day-to-day for the team.
John Carlson leads in points (43) and assists (32) while Alex Ovechkin tops Washington in goals with 20. Holtby is 15-2-4 with a 2.78 goals-against average and .910 save percentage. Washington averages 3.61 goals a game and gives up 2.77 a contest. The Capitals’ power play scores 24.5 percent and their penalty kill is at 84.0 percent.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have lost their last four, including a 4-1 defeat to the Florida Panthers on Saturday. Vladislav Gavrikov scored the only goal for the Jackets in the loss. The team is suffering without Zach Werenski in the lineup and Emil Benstrom is day-to-day.
Pierre-Luc DuBois leads in goals (10) and points (18) for the Blue Jackets while Seth Jones is tops in assists with 12. Joonas Korpisalo in 11-10-1 with a 2.85 goals-against average and .900 save percentage. Columbus scores only 2.45 goals a game and gives up 3.10 a game. Their power play has a 19.1 success rate and their PK kills off 79.3 percent of penalties.
This is the first of three December meetings between the two teams. Washington is coming off a rare California sweep and looks great so far.
Prediction: Capitals win 4-1.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Lightning 0 – 1 Islanders
Tampa Bay is coming off a big 7-1 win over the San Jose Sharks on Saturday after Steven Stamkos netted two goals and an assist. New York beat Tampa Bay 5-2 on Nov. 1 after Anders Lee supplied a goal and two assists.
Nikita Kucherov leads the team in goals (10), assists (21) and points (31) for the team. Andrei Vasilevskiy is the team’s top goalie with an 11-8-1 record, 2.91 goals-against average and .907 save percentage. The Lightning score 3.74 goals a game and surrender 3.22 a game. Tampa’s power play converts 30.0 percent of chances and stops 79.3 percent of penalties.
The Islanders lost 3-1 to the Dallas Stars on Saturday night despite a goal from Mathew Barzal and 34 saves from Thomas Greiss. New York has won three of its last five games in its recent stretch of games.
Barzal leads the team in goals (12), assists (13) and points (25). Greiss and Semyon Varlamov have formed one of the most effective one-two punches in goal in the league. New York scores 2.82 goals a game and allows 2.42. The Islanders power play converts 18.6 percent of chances and has an 81.6 penalty-killing rate.
Tampa Bay is trying to keep pace in the Atlantic Division while New York is trying to stay in range of Washington. The Lightning need a fast start in order to stop the Islanders.
Prediction: Lightning win 5-3.
Boston Bruins vs Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Bruins 2 – 0 Senators
The Boston Bruins are looking to at least clinch the season series with a third win in as many meetings with the Ottawa Senators. Boston won 5-2 on Nov. 2 and 2-1 on Nov. 27 in the previous two meetings. The Colorado Avalanche gave Boston its first home loss in regulation on Saturday with a 4-1 win. Chris Wagner got the only goal for the Bruins.
Brad Marchand leads Boston is assists (26) and points (44) while David Pastrnak is tops in goals with 25. Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak are another devastating one-two combo in goal for the Bruins. Boston scores 3.50 goals a game and gives up 2.30 a game. They convert 28.4 percent of power plays and stop 84.4 percent of penalties.
Ottawa lost 4-3 to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday despite a pair of goals from Anthony Duclair. The Sens have lost four of their last five and sit seventh in the Atlantic Division. Anders Nilsson will seemingly get the start if Craig Anderson can’t go.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau leads Ottawa in goals (15) and points (22) while Connor Brown leads in assists with 15. The team scores 2.53 goals a game and allows 3.13 per contest. Ottawa’s power play is one of the worst in the league at 9.5 percent and it kills off 82.4 percent of penalties.
Boston is looking to get back into the win column and should do so against an Ottawa team that’s shone a lot of fight.
Prediction: Bruins win 5-2
Calgary Flames vs Colorado Avalanche
Head-to-Head: Flames 0 – 2 Avalanche
The Calgary Flames are seeking their first win of the season against Colorado, who won the first two meetings 5-3 on Oct. 3 and 3-2 on Nov. 19. Calgary has won its last four in a row since Bill Peters stopped being head coach. The Flames won 4-3 on Saturday over the Los Angeles Kings. Dilion Dube and Milan Lucic each tallied a goal and an assist for the Flames.
Matthew Tkuchuk leads in points with 25 while Elias Lindholm is the top goal-scorer with 14. David Rittich has played well the last few games for the Flames. Calgary scores 2.52 goals a gave and gives up 2.92 per game. The Flames convert 17.5 percent of power plays and kill off 84.1 percent of penalties.
Colorado has won its last six games in a row but lost Philipp Grubauer and may be without Cale Makar after Saturday’s game with Boston. The Avs have been solid at both ends of the ice during the winning streak.
Nathan MacKinnon leads in all offensive categories like goals (18), assists (27) and points (45). Pavel Francouz will likely get the start if Grubauer cannot start. Colorado scores 3.69 goals a game and allows 2.72 on defence. The Avalanche are successful on 19.1 percent of power plays and kill off 78.9 percent of penalties.
The Avalanche are rolling, but have a lot of injuries to deal with as Nazem Kadri has been out as well. Calgary has a new lease on life under Geoff Ward and can take advantage of the injuries.
Prediction: Flames win 4-2.
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 04: Johnny Boychuk #55 of the New York Islanders hits Alex Killorn #17 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at the Barclays Center on April 4, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The Islanders defeated the Lightning 5-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)