NHL Predictions: December 20th – Including Pittsburgh Penguins vs Edmonton Oilers

NHL Predictions
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 02: Pittsburgh Penguins Center Sidney Crosby (87) and Edmonton Oilers Center Connor McDavid (97) face-off during the third period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Edmonton Oilers on November 2, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Here are today’s NHL Predictions for tonight’s games. Daily, Last Word on Hockey brings you a prediction and analysis of every game on the schedule. This will also feature a significant game on the schedule that is must-watch hockey. Today’s featured game is the Pittsburgh Penguins vs Edmonton Oilers.

NHL Predictions

Dallas Stars vs Florida Panthers

Head to Head: Stars 0-0 Panthers

The Dallas Stars are on a brief, two-game road trip in Florida, playing Tampa Bay last night. If the Stars want to head home with another win, they need to play hard. While they appear to be a playoff team thus far, there is still work to do. Miro Heiskanen is likely going to be a large part of their offence. He has proven he is an effective offensive contributor, with 21 points in 35 games this season. The third overall pick in the 2017 draft, Heiskanen is an important cog in Dallas’ offensive machine. When he plays well, the team generates wins.

Fans of the Florida Panthers are better off watching highlights from the 1995-96 season than they are watching their team play now. With a 16-12-5 record, they are firmly out of playoff position. The nine-game homestand ends tonight and will determine if they will have a winning record on that stand before heading to Carolina. The one sure thing in Florida now is Aleksander Barkov playing well and they need him to continue tonight for them to have a chance.

Prediction: Stars win 3-2

Washington Capitals vs New Jersey Devils

Head to Head: Capitals 0-0 Devils

The first time that these two division rivals meet this season shouldn’t be much of a competition. The Washington Capitals have been one of the most impressive teams so far this year, with a 24-6-5 record. John Carlson has been an extremely dynamic defender for the Capitals, as he has put up points better than no other defenceman. A front runner for the Norris Trophy this season, Carlson should have a field day against a struggling franchise from New Jersey.

Goaltending woes have been a nightly problem for the New Jersey Devils. Cory Schneider is playing in the AHL, and neither MacKenzie Blackwood or Louis Domingue is the answer. They also just lost their best offensive weapon in Taylor Hall, as he was traded to the Arizona Coyotes. If the Devils want to win games against tough teams like Washington, they need the few big names they have left to step up. All eyes are on P.K. Subban, Nico Hischier, and Jack Hughes now.

Prediction: Capitals win 5-1

Toronto Maple Leafs vs New York Rangers

Head to Head: Maple Leafs 0-0 Rangers

While the Toronto Maple Leafs are still on the outside of the playoff picture, they continue to play solid hockey. A 6-4-0 record over their last 10 games is not bad, but not as good as they need to be. Toronto has fallen well short of all expectations for a team with every offensive weapon imaginable and a goaltender that continues to provide exceptional play. This team cannot continue to allow Frederik Andersen to be the sole defender and needs its veteran defenders to step up.

Even though the New York Rangers have been disappointing so far this season, there are many things to look forward to for Rangers fans. Artemi Panarin has been everything promised, Ryan Strome has been on fire, and Kaapo Kakko continues to show promise. This team has also been resilient, coming back from a four-goal deficit against the Montreal Canadiens earlier this season. While they may not win tonight, they are feisty enough that you can never count them out.

Prediction: Maple Leafs win 4-2

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Edmonton Oilers

Head to Head: Penguins 0-1 Oilers

Next up in our NHL predictions is the Oilers vs Penguins. The last time these two juggernauts met head to head, fans were treated to a thrilling overtime win by the Oilers. The Pittsburgh Penguins will be looking for retribution as they come into Edmonton attempting to even the season series. Bryan Rust has been a pleasant surprise for Pens fans and Jake Guentzel has impressed. Sidney Crosby has been absent from the lineup for some time now, but Evgeni Malkin has been a more than adequate fill in. The only question mark comes in at goaltender, as Tristan Jarry has provided a challenge to Matt Murray for the starting role.

The Edmonton Oilers have been better than most could have anticipated and a very top-heavy offence has been the main reason for it. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have 59 and 58 points respectively. The next highest scorer on the team is Zack Kassian. He only has 24 points. The success of this team comes almost solely from the sticks of McDavid and Draisatil. If they want to be considered serious contenders this season, they need more depth scoring. They can prove this team is more than just two players with a win over a challenging Penguins team.

Prediction: Oilers win 4-3

That does it for today’s NHL predictions. Be sure to check back tomorrow for another slate of games.

Main photo:
Embed from Getty Images

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