Welcome back to NHL Predictions. Every day Last Word on Hockey brings you a prediction and analysis of every game on the schedule. In the late-games edition of the February 4th NHL Predictions, we’ll cover six games. There will also be a featured game on that is must-watch hockey. Today’s NHL Predictions featured game is the Arizona Coyotes vs the Edmonton Oilers.
Be sure to also check out the early game NHL Predictions to stay informed.
Ottawa Senators vs Anaheim Ducks
Head-to-Head: Senators 0-0 Ducks
No offence meant to either fan base. This game is not terribly interesting. The Ottawa Senators and Anaheim Ducks are both bottom feeders with little to be positive with. The best you can say for either is that they have a few good young pieces and the only way to get better is to lose a lot of games. Both teams have been successful in that respect. This is anyone’s game, but we’ll go with the Senators.
Prediction: Senators win 3-1
St. Louis Blues vs Carolina Hurricanes
Head-to-Head: Blues 0-0 Hurricanes
One glance at the standings and this game may appear to be a bit one-sided. After all, the St. Louis Blues sit at the top of the Western conference while the Carolina Hurricanes currently can not hold onto a wild card spot. Take a closer look though, and this match-up is clearly between two of the league’s best teams.
The Blues have not fared well since the all-star break, dropping three of their last four games. The primary culprit has been a stagnating offence. St. Louis could only must five goals combined across their three most recent losses. Still, the Blues remain a contender in the Western conference primarily for their defensive acumen, and this recent slide should be seen as a bump in the road.
The Carolina Hurricanes have a solid claim as being the best NHL team that isn’t regularly holding onto a playoff spot. Carolina sits on the outside looking in as they are behind the Islanders and Flyers in the hunt for the final wild-card spots. Despite their relatively low win total, the Hurricanes have been doing most things right. They boast a +27 goal differential and measure favourably by most metrics. Don’t let the standings fool you, the Carolina Hurricanes are a force to be reckoned with.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 3-2
Minnesota Wild vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Wild 0-1 Blackhawks
The Minnesota Wild have lived up to expectations this season. Unfortunately for them, expectations were not high. The team is comfortably last in the Central Division with a -17 goal differential. There aren’t many good things to say about this Minnesota team, other than that they’re moving in the right direction and Eric Staal continues to be an asset. They should be a seller at this trade deadline, but who do they have that could be attractive for other teams? Pickings may be slim.
As hard as it may be to believe, the Chicago Blackhawks have an outside shot at a playoff spot. What isn’t hard to believe is that this bid is largely bolstered by the stellar offensive output of Patrick Kane. The American has 65 points in 52 games and continues to be one of the most dynamic players in the league. It will be interesting to see moving towards the trade deadline whether Chicago attempts to make trades in support of a playoff push. That would probably be unwise, but you never know what Stan Bowman is going to do.
Prediction: Blackhawks win 4-1
Winnipeg Jets vs Nashville Predators
Head-to-Head: Jets 1-1 Predators
The Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators played a classic seven-game playoff series in 2018. At the time, it seemed we may be getting a preview of two future powerhouses. Just a year and a half later, both teams possess glaring issues and are not poised to even make the playoffs. The Jets started the season well, but their lack of defence finally caught up to them without Connor Hellebuyck standing on his head on a nightly basis. The Predators are one of the most disappointing teams in the NHL, and it may be fair to wonder if trouble follows wherever Matt Duchene goes. These games are usually low-scoring. Expect that again.
Prediction: Jets win 2-1
Calgary Flames vs San Jose Sharks
Head-to-Head: Flames 0-1 Sharks
This Pacific Division match-up features two teams going in completely different directions. While the Calgary Flames fight for a playoff spot, the San Jose Sharks continue to settle into the bottom of the standings. The Sharks are also largely uninteresting because the same issues that plague them now are those that have been all season. They can’t stop the puck and aren’t scoring enough to make up for it. The Calgary Flames are coming off two emotional games and may have trouble getting into this game. Once they get set up, however, they should win this game easily.
Prediction: Flames win 5-3
Arizona Coyotes vs Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Coyotes 2-1 Oilers
The Arizona Coyotes are on one of the coldest streaks in the league. They just haven’t been the same since they lost starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper to an injury. That being said, their goaltending hasn’t been awful. It’s just that the play in front of the net has left a lot to be desired. The team is 2-5-3 over their last 10 games, a stretch that has dropped them from first in the division all the way to fifth. Luckily, the Pacific Division is tight with only six points separating Arizona from first place. This game presents a crucial opportunity to take on one of the teams that have most benefited from the Coyotes slide, The Edmonton Oilers.
In contrast to Arizona, the Edmonton Oilers are one of the hottest teams in the NHL. The Oilers have earned a point in all but one of their last 10 games. This should come as no surprise, but the hot streak has been spurred by the play of the two highest scorers in the NHL, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. Right now, the Oilers are playing better hockey than the Coyotes, but they are also coming off some emotional battles with Calgary. Will they be able to refocus and continue this winning trend? More than likely.
Prediction: Oilers win 4-2