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 Montreal Canadiens. This is the early game slate of NHL Predictions. Be sure and check out the late games of NHL Predictions too.
Ottawa Senators vs Winnipeg Jets
Head-to-Head: Senators 0 – 0 Jets
It is Hockey Day in Canada so there are three different all Canadian matchups today. This is the first one for NHL Predictions. The Ottawa Senators roll into this game on a four-game losing streak. They have two wins in their last 18 games. Ottawa has managed to pick up a bunch of loser points in OT this year but winning has been a struggle. Marcus Hogberg has played well in the net but has gotten almost no support in front of him most games. This Sens team is poor in their own end and need to make sure they are securing the puck if they want a chance to win this.
The Winnipeg Jets are 2-5-1 in their last eight heading into today’s game. This Senators team is a very beatable team, however, it won’t come easy. Ottawa makes you work for every point and if you come into the game thinking it will be easy, you will be in for a tough surprise. The Jets have played alright this season given all the injuries and missed bodies they have faced. However, their underlying metrics, which are some of the worst in the league, appear to be catching up to them. Winnipeg needs to bring their A-game tonight to get the ball rolling and out of this slump.
Prediction: Jets win 5-2.
Arizona Coyotes vs Boston Bruins
Head-to-Head: Coyotes 0 – 1 Bruins
The Arizona Coyotes haven’t had the greatest record since acquiring Taylor Hall. However, a big part of that has been the loss of Darcy Kuemper, who was playing like a legitimate Vezina candidate this season. The Coyotes are in the thick of the Pacific division chase as five teams are within five points of each other. Games like these are huge to bank some points while on the road and try to get some momentum back. It is a 1 pm local start for the team so that may have a bit of an effect on how the tempo is played but look for Arizona to fight through that.
The Boston Bruins have been one of the best teams all year long. They look to extend their current winning streak to six-games as nothing can affect this team right now. With a five-point lead on second in the division, the Bruins are now just looking to keep collecting points. They have lost more games in overtime or a shootout with 12 then they have in regulation with 10. That has been a huge reason they have been able to keep the lead on their division so strong. Look for this to be a tightly contested defensive matchup.
Prediction: Coyotes win 2-1 in a shootout.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Montreal Canadiens
Maple Leafs 0 – 2 Canadiens
This is NHL Predictions featured game of the night as it as huge impacts on the Atlantic division. The Toronto Maple Leafs played last night and new addition Jack Campbell got his first win as a Leaf. Frederik Andersen is still hurt so it will be interesting to see if Campbell starts two straight days or Michael Hutchinson gets to try and redeem himself. Most Leaf fans may hope for the former. This Toronto team has struggled against Montreal this year at 0-1-1 and will be in tough tonight as Montreal is rested.
Montreal has won six of their last eight and are starting to creep their way back into the playoff race. Shea Weber is out which is a huge loss. However, in good news for Montreal, Carey Price has started to look better as of late. If they want a chance at playoffs he needs to be more than average. Montreal has a strong team but it relies on a very good goalie to get them through. This Habs team will have the rest advantage and on a Saturday night, it should be rocking at home. Montreal currently sits six points back of a playoff spot. This is a crucial game and should be a good one to watch for in NHL Predictions.
Prediction: Maple Leafs win 4-3 in Overtime.
New York Islanders vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head-to-Head: Islanders 2 – 0 Lightning
The New York Islanders have lost some ground in the Metro Division but look to start gaining that back again as soon as possible. They come into tonight’s game with a 4-4-2 record in their last 10. Not too bad but you know they will want to be better than that going forward. They will be in tough tonight as the Tampa Bay Lightning are one of the hottest teams in the NHL. One thing New York has going for them is that they have dominated Tampa thus far this year. They will need a strong outing to take two points on Saturday.
The Lightning have won five in a row and are surging in the Atlantic right now. They are now clearly in second place and have their eyes on the division lead. They will need big performances from the likes of Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov to get past this very tough defensive team in the New York Islanders. Look for Tampa to try and bring the pace to this game as they want to avenge the last two times these teams played, where the score really wasn’t close.
Prediction: Lightning win 3-1.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Penguins 0 – 2 Panthers
The Pittsburgh Penguins have been the story of the year so far. So many injuries to names like Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and more but they have kept winning and in a pretty convincing fashion. John Marino, who has had a stellar year, might be the latest victim of these injuries. However, look for Pittsburgh to continue grinding away as they almost always do. Bryan Rust is having a breakout year and it seems like whenever they may be out of it, someone new helps and steps up.
The Florida Panthers need this game as they have lost two and are in a dog fight with Toronto for that last Atlantic spot. You don’t want to let too many in a row slip away from you, especially because they stole two points from Toronto earlier this week. Sergei Bobrovsky has started to look like the Bobrovsky of old and that is a very good sign for Florida. They need goaltending as they have one of the best offences in the league. This should be a good game.
Prediction: Penguins win 5-3.
Philadelphia Flyers vs Washington Capitals
Head-to-Head: Flyers 1 – 1 Capitals
The Philadelphia Flyers are 4-1-1 in their last six and look to keep that going against one of the best teams in the league here tonight. Philly is currently tied for the final wildcard spot in the East but there are quite a few teams right in that mix. Taking two points away from another divisional team would be a massive win here. They will need to play their typical tough, grinding hockey. Look for someone like Sean Couturier to be the leader if they do manage to pull off a win tonight.
The Washington Capitals, per usual, sit atop the Metro Division. Alex Ovechkin doesn’t seem to want to slow down at all as he has been on an absolute mission lately. He is already at 40 goals this year and has worked his way back as the Rocket favourite. John Carlson is having a year that will generate some Norris talk and Ilya Samsonov has been unreal in the net. This is a very good team and they will be tough to beat in general. Look for them to keep their high-pace up tonight.
Prediction: Capitals win 4-1.
That’s all for NHL Predictions! Come back each day for more!