Here are today’s NHL Predictions. 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 Nashville Predators. This is the early game slate of NHL Predictions. Be sure to check out the late games as well.
Boston Bruins vs Buffalo Sabres
Head to Head: Bruins 1-0 Sabres
The Boston Bruins finally stopped the skid. After having lost seven of their last eight games, they thoroughly crushed the Washington Capitals in a 7-3 victory. While they did build momentum, there is a significant reason for concern. An already chippy game got very out of hand and the physicality took a toll. Both Charlie McAvoy and Torey Krug suffered injuries in this game, leaving their defence stripped down to the bare bones. While McAvoy is likely to play, Krug is still considered day-to-day and the severity of the injury is still unknown.
Jack Eichel has been the driving force behind the Buffalo Sabres offence this season. With 51 points through the Christmas break, he is on pace to blow past his career highs in offensive output. His production will be the key to beating Boston. If he can continue his high scoring ways, they should be able to make this home and home very competitive.
Prediction: Bruins win 6-5
Toronto Maple Leafs vs New Jersey Devils
Head to Head: Maple Leafs 0-0 Devils
The Toronto Maple Leafs have bounced back from a rough start under Mike Babcock. Since taking over as bench boss, Sheldon Keefe has righted the ship and put this team firmly back into playoff position. With all the offensive tools you could possibly imagine at his disposal, this is a team that is capable of filling the net night in and night out. A porous goaltending situation on the other end of the ice gives the Leafs a huge advantage in this matchup.
Fans already know well enough how bad the goaltending situation is for the New Jersey Devils so there’s no reason to harp on that again this week. If anything needs to be discussed, it has been the lack of an impact from P.K. Subban. His seven points in 37 games are abysmal and the former Norris Trophy winner needs to step up in order to establish this team as a threat to anyone. It’s also worth mentioning that Nico Hischier has failed to live up to the billing of a former first overall pick thus far.
Prediction: Maple Leafs win 6-1
Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Rangers
Head to Head: Hurricanes 0-2 Rangers
The Carolina Hurricanes are on a roll towards a second consecutive playoff run and Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov are leading the way with 37 points each. They need to continue to push forward if they want to secure home ice for any round, as they hold the last wild card slot in the east as of now. If Dougie Hamilton keeps scoring at the rate he has as well, the Norris Trophy underdog could make this team dangerous down the stretch.
As much of a disparity as there is between the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes records, the Rangers have had their number so far this season. The Rangers have come out on top in both matchups. Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox have both been excellent in the two games against the Canes this season. Panarin has a goal and three assists, and Fox scored in both games and had an assist. Keep an eye on both of these players as they are candidates for strong performances again tonight.
Prediction: Rangers win 2-1
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Washington Capitals
Head to Head: Blue Jackets 2-0 Capitals
The Columbus Blue Jackets are similar to the Rangers tonight. They come into a game against a team they should lose to but they have beaten twice so far this season. Columbus has not had as good a season as last year to this point, but it can’t be called a total loss when you consider what they lost this off-season. They lack scoring but were able to keep their biggest asset, defensive depth. If they keep the Capitals scorers in check, they stand a good chance.
The Washington Capitals are one of the best teams in the league this season but lack discipline. Their last game against the Boston Bruins got out of hand and extremely physical. If they are unable to keep their play under control tonight, they could find themselves in the penalty box far too many times. Even though they have been good on the penalty kill this season, too many powerplays for the other team is always concerning.
Prediction: Blue Jackets win 3-1
Minnesota Wild vs Colorado Avalanche
Head to Head: Wild 1-1 Avalanche
Mats Zuccarello came to the Minnesota Wild and has been impressive thus far with 22 points. Eric Staal has played solid hockey as well with 31 points. As good as they have been, most of the rest of the team has floundered. They have not been good enough and currently sit three spots behind the last playoff slot in the west. Players like Mikko Koivu
need to step up and prove they are a vital component of their team.
Cale Makar is still on the mend for the Colorado Avalanche. A favourite for the Calder Trophy this season, he has missed eight straight games. Although he was a full participant in the morning skate this past Monday, he is still questionable for tonight’s matchup. This could almost be better for the team though, as they have seemingly played better with one of their stars out of the lineup, namely Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog. No matter who plays tonight though, the Avalanche should be a heavy favourite.
Prediction: Avalanche win 5-2
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Nashville Predators
This is our NHL Predictions featured game of the night
Head to Head: Penguins 0-0 Predators
The Pittsburgh Penguins are headed back to the city they triumphed over in the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals. They have decent odds to win again too. The Penguins field a highly competitive team nearly every season and this one is no different. Jake Guentzel has been leading the way for the offence and has done an excellent job of picking up the slack left behind by Sidney Crosby’s absence. Although playing with Evgeni Malkin
would boost the stats of any player.
The addition of Matt Duchene has helped boost the offence of the Nashville Predators. The strength of the Predators has long been their defence, boasting big names like Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Seth Jones and now current captain Roman Josi. They need more scoring if they want to win a title. Matt Duchene could be the missing piece and provide more scoring depth to an offensively challenged team
Prediction: Penguins win 3-2
That does it for today’s NHL Predictions. Be sure to check back tomorrow for more!
Embed from Getty Images