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. Winnipeg Jets. This is the late game slate of NHL Predictions. Be sure and check out the early games of NHL Predictions too.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Winnipeg Jets
Head-to-Head: Maple Leafs 0 – 0 Jets
This our NHL predictions featured late game of the night.
This is the first of two meetings between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets. The Maple Leafs come in with points in eight straight games with six wins in eight games. Under head coach Sheldon Keefe, the Maple Leafs are playing a more up-tempo game. With the way this team was designed by their general manager, Keefe is the perfect fit. The Maple Leafs play more of a skilled game, then more of a grinding style. While Auston Matthews, John Tavares, and Mitch Marner get all the attention, William Nylander is playing some of the best hockey of his career. His skill is on display with or without the puck. He has been crucial to the success of the Maple Leafs lately.
The Jets continue to persevere despite all the injuries to their roster. They are really glad Mathieu Perreault returned to the lineup. He brings stability and depth back to a Jets lineup that was needed. Connor Hellebuyck is continuing to play well for the Jets. However, for some reason, against the Maple Leafs, the Jets struggle on home ice. Even with stars like Blake Wheeler, Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele, and Patrik Laine, the Jets can’t get past the Leafs defence. This will be a fun game to watch between two highly skilled teams. Both teams need this game as the standings in the Eastern and Western Conference are very tight.
Prediction: Maple Leafs Win 3-1
New York Rangers vs. Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Rangers 0 – 0 Flames
This is the first of two meetings between the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames. The Rangers head into Calgary off a wild game in Edmonton. They will look to carry their late period success into the start against the Flames. Artemi Panarin continues to be amazing for the Rangers. He leads the team with 55 points (22 goals and 33 assists). Ryan Strome is having a good season as well. He is second in the team in scoring. Jacob Trouba is finally getting comfortable in a new system and it is showing in his play. New York will look to bounce back against a tough team.
Outside their win against Edmonton and Minnesota, the Flames have losses in five of its last seven games. Surprisingly the Flames are struggling on home ice. Usually, the Flames play really well at the Saddledome. However, that isn’t the case in the past two months. It is the same old story with the Flames, they need to get production from their top guys. Through 42 games, the Flames top guys are underperforming. If the Flames want a shot at the playoffs, those players need to step up. With the standings so close, the Flames really need a win over a bad team. If they want to be a contender going forward, they can’t let points slip away.
Prediction: Flames Win 4-2
Anaheim Ducks vs. Arizona Coyotes
Head-to-Head: Ducks 1-1 Coyotes
This is the third meeting of the season between the Anaheim Ducks and Arizona Coyotes. The two split the first meetings of the season. The Ducks enter the game on a two-game losing streak. Recently, the Ducks will catch a good team sleeping and take advantage of the game. However, it is a down year for the Ducks. They are transitioning to be being a younger team. That talent has been on display this season not only on the NHL level but on the junior level as well. The future is bright for Ducks fans. One of the bright spots this season has been Jakob Silfverberg. He will represent the Ducks at the NHL All-Star Game this season. He is having an outstanding year.
The Ducks are looking to extend their winning streak to two games. After a big win over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night, the Coyotes are playing a division rival. The addition of Taylor Hall has made the Coyotes a tough team to play against. His addition has allowed opportunities for players like Clayton Keller, Phil Kessel, Christian Dvorak, and Nick Schmaltz to pick up their offensive games. The Coyotes are trying to survive without Darcy Kuemper. So far Antti Raanta has done a solid job. Just like with the Flames, this is a game the Coyotes need to win, to remain in contention for the playoffs.
Prediction: Coyotes Win 4-2
St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche
Head-to-Head: Blues 2 – 0 Avalanche
In another potential matchup of the night, the St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche meet up for the third time this season. The Blues have taken the first two games of the season by scores of 3-1 and 5-2. The Blues are hoping the momentum the Blues created in 2019 will carry into 2020. They are definitely one team that wishes it is still 2019. If you go back to the start back of 2019, there has been no hotter team in the league than the Blues. Even without Vladimir Tarasenko in the lineup, the Blues continue to win. While Jordan Binnington has been excellent, Jake Allen has been rock solid too when Binnington needs a night off. The Blues are looking to start a new winning streak after their eight-game winning streak came to an end the other night.
As the calendar flips to 2020, the Avalanche were in the midst of a streak where they win one game and then lose one game. The Avalanche would like to get back on the winning ways. With the Central Division so tough again this season, losing this game could put them back behind the eight-ball even more. Colorado is mixing things up trying to find some scoring. Mikko Rantanen has been taken off the top line. Nathan MacKinnon continues to propel his team to victory. But Colorado still needs more. While Philipp Grubauer is the starter, Pavel Francouz has been the better goalie as of late. This game could be a preview of a playoff series this year. All eyes will be watching this one.
Prediction: Blues Win 4-3
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Vancouver Canucks
Head-to-Head: Blackhawks 1 – 0 Canucks
This is the second meeting between the Chicago Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks. The Blackhawks took the first matchup by a score of 5-2. Entering the contest, the Blackhawks are on a three-game winning streak. Robin Lehner continues to be a solid goaltender this season being Corey Crawford‘s backup. Even with their lousy record and injuries to players like Brent Seabrook, Calvin de Haan, and Brandon Saad, the Blackhawks are finding ways to win hockey games. When a team has Patrick Kane on offence, the opposition needs to be aware of him. He can create something out of nothing.
Just like the Blackhawks, the Canucks are entering the contest on a winning streak. Currently, the Canucks win streak sits at five games and that has propelled to third place in the Pacific Division. The Canucks are getting production from not only their offence but their defence as well. Everyone knows about Elias Pettersson, Bo Horvat, Brock Boeser, J.T. Miller, and Quinn Hughes, but it is the secondary players get the job done for the Canucks as well. Not to mention the play of Jacob Markstrom. Markstrom’s play has put into motion a potential contract extension. He will need to continue his stellar play into the New Year.
Prediction: Canucks Win 5-3
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Vegas Golden Knights
Head-to-Head: Flyers 0 – 0 Golden Knights
This is the first of two meetings this season between the Philadelphia Flyers and Vegas Golden Knights. The Flyers are wrapping up their four-game road trip in Vegas. Philadelphia would like to head home with a victory. So far through three games, the Flyers are 1-2 on the trip. While the Flyers did get a win over the Ducks, they lost to the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings. Those are games the Flyers would like to have back if they miss the playoffs. Goaltending which has been an issue for the Flyers in the past is an issue again. Neither Carter Hart nor Brian Elliott is playing well at the moment. And heading into a tough environment, the Flyers need their goalies to be better. They have the weapons offensively, the Flyers need to play better defence.
The Golden Knights are currently on an eight-game homestand. So far the Golden Knights have two wins on home ice. Since coming into the league, the Golden Knights have a great home record. With their recent play as of late, the Golden Knights sit in first place in the Pacific Division. Any roster that has Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty will have success. Not to mention Vegas is becoming a tough team to play against again. They are getting back to what made them successful in their first year. The Golden Knights are outworking every team they come across. That is what makes them so dangerous.
Prediction: Golden Knights Win 5-1
This does it for NHL Predictions for the late games for January 2nd.