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 Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Calgary Flames. This is the late game slate of NHL Predictions. Be sure and check out the early games too.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Minnesota Wild
Head-to-Head: Wild 1 – 0 Oilers
This is the second of three meetings between Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild. The Wild took the first meeting by a score of 3-0. Just like the first meeting, the Oilers have to travel to Minnesota. Things have not gone well for the Oilers as of late. After their hot starts, the Oilers have gotten two wins in its last seven games. Despite the losing streak, the Oilers remain in first place in the Pacific Division, but just barely. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl continue to set the world on fire. However, in order for the Oilers to be successful, they need to get better goaltending.
On the side of things, the Wild are continuing their climb up the standings. After a five-game winning streak, the Wild have lost their last two games. The last one coming Tuesday night in the shootout. Minnesota looks to bounce back. They have definitely been playing better as of late. However, the Wild would like to have a winning record on this homestand before they hit the road for three games next week. On paper, this is a one-sided matchup, but with the way the Oilers have been playing this can go either way. Plus the Wild is a good team on home-ice.
Prediction: Wild win 3-2
NHL Predictions featured game
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Maple Leafs 0 – 0 Flames
This our NHL predictions featured late game of the night.
This is the first of two meetings between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames. This is gonna be a fun game to watch between two young and skilled teams. Both teams have changed head coaches recently and are battling to get back into playoff contention. The Maple Leafs remain on the four-game trip that goes through western Canada. Frederik Andersen was outstanding for the Maple Leafs once again. He continues to be their best player on a nightly basis. John Tavares is starting to find his groove as he added two goals the other night. Sheldon Keefe is getting the Maple Leafs to play and a certain way and it is starting to pay off.
The Flames return home after a successful two-game road trip. It is never easy returning home after a road trip, but this feels different. Since Geoff Ward took over, the Flames are 6-0 and sit in third place in the Pacific Division. Milan Lucic is on a bit of a hot-streak with goals in three straight games. He is starting to get his confidence back. The Flames goaltending has been rock solid off the past six games as well. This will not be an easy game for the Maple Leafs. Even without Matthew Tkachuk, who sidelined with an upper-body, Calgary still has weapons like Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, and the list goes on.
Prediction: Maple Leafs win 4-3
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Arizona Coyotes
Head-to-Head: Coyotes 1 – 0 Blackhawks
This is the second of three meetings between the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes. In the first games, the Coyotes just squeaked on out as the defeated the Blackhawks 4-3 in a shootout. The Blackhawks remain on their three-game road trip. This team is clearly in a rebuild mode. Some nights they look great and other nights not so much. They are just a young team, that has some aging veterans on the roster that make a ton of money. After a disappointing loss on Tuesday night, Chicago will look to bounce back.
Even though the Coyotes are tied with the Oilers in points with 40, they sit in second place in the Pacific Division. Arizona could be doing some much better and even running away with the division if they could just win on home ice. As stated previously during NHL Predictions for December 10th, the first game back from a long road trip is always tough. The Vegas Golden Knights went through it and bounced back the following game with a solid effort in a win. Arizona will look to do the same. The Coyotes have the talent and have a good goaltender in Darcy Kuemper, who can get them the victory. Arizona has some luck against the Blackhawks in the past.
Prediction: Coyotes win 3-1
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Vancouver Canucks
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 0 – 0 Canucks
This is the first of two meetings between the Carolina Hurricanes and Vancouver Canucks. The Hurricanes are coming in on a three-game winning streak. Head coach Rod Brind’Amour continues to play the numbers game. Goaltender James Reimer has been superb for the Hurricanes on the road and he continued that trend against the Oilers on Tuesday night. While the Hurricanes do like to flip fop starts between Reimer and Petr Mrazek, it would not shock anyone if Reimer got one or two more starts on this road trip. He has been rock solid.
The Canucks are looking to bounce back after a tough loss to the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night. While they had their chances to steal the game away, they just could not convert on their chances. Vancouver will need to do so against a tough Hurricanes team. With the Pacific Division, not to mention the Western Conference, so tight, every point matters in the standings. The margin for error is razor-thin. Like the Hurricanes, the Canucks have a skilled team, that is playing well defensively. If the goaltenders are in the zone, this could be a low scoring affair, if not look for the offence to take over.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 4-3
Last NHL Predictions
Los Angeles Kings vs. Anaheim Ducks
Head-to-Head: Ducks 1 – 0 Kings
This is the second of four meetings between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks. In the previous matchup between the Freeway Rivals, the Ducks defeated the Kings by a score of 4-2. Los Angeles is out for some revenge. Like in any sport it does not matter how bad one team or how good the other is, when rivals get together it is always a battle. The Kings are coming off a victory as they embark on a six-game road trip. Jonathan Quick turned back the clocks the other night. It is has been a rocky year for Los Angeles, to say the least. Getting off on the right foot to start a road trip is ideal for any team.
Like the Kings, the Ducks coming into this Battle of California matchup on a winning note. Having returned home from a quick road trip, let’s see if the Ducks have their skating legs early on. The reason Anaheim is in every game is because of their goaltender John Gibson. Since entering the league, Gibson has been rock solid for the Ducks. He gets no love because he plays out on the West Coast. He continues to put up stellar numbers. And while neither time in the playoff picture, pride will be in the line in this one. Look for it to be a tight-checking affair with neither team giving an inch.
Prediction: Ducks win 3-2
New York Rangers vs. San Jose Sharks
Head-to-Head: Rangers 0 – 0 Sharks
This is the first of two meetings between the New York Rangers and San Jose Sharks. The Rangers are continuing their road trip through California. New York is looking to bounce back after a disappointing loss on Tuesday night. Despite the loss, Artemi Panarin continues to shine for the Rangers. The Rangers went after the biggest fish in the sea and got him. He has done nothing but produced for them. San Jose will have their hands full with him.
Speaking of the Sharks, the team announced they fired head coach Peter DeBoer along with the rest of the coaching staff Wednesday night. Bob Boughner will take over the head coaching duties. It has been an up and down season for the Sharks this year. Management saw enough after as the Sharks are currently on a five-game losing streak. It will be interesting to see how the Sharks return to the Shark Tank after a four-game road trip. Goaltending which had gotten better, again is a problem. This is really a pick’em game.
Prediction: Rangers win 2-1
This does it for NHL Predictions for the late games on December 12th, check back tomorrow for another edition.