Saturday’s schedule is packed with action! Last Word On Hockey is continuing our NHL Predictions series. We’re dedicated to bringing you the latest analysis and predictions for every game, every night. If you missed the early games NHL Predictions, make sure to head over and check it out! There are six match-ups on the late game slate, and our featured contest of the evening focuses on the Dallas Stars facing the reigning Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues.
Nashville Predators vs Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Oilers 1 – 0 Predators
The last time these two clubs met was January 14th, and the Edmonton Oilers got the victory 4-2 with Leon Draisaitl scoring two goals and one assist. With the one-two punch of Connor McDavid and Draisaitl, the Oilers are always dangerous on offence. They’ve gone 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. They may need to work on their defence though since they have a combined .905 save percentage with a 2.95 goals allowed average. They currently reside in third place in the Topsy-turvy Pacific Division with five teams trailing them by one to four points. This game is huge for them.
The Nashville Predators only trail the Oilers by three points and this game could very well allow them to make up some lost ground. An added bonus for them is they possess a game-in-hand and that’s always helpful if you can take advantage of it. The Preds are 6-4 in their last 10 games and winners of two straight. They are paced by their great defenceman Roman Josi who is averaging a point a game. If they can determine how to stop the dynamic due of McDavid/Draisaitl as the Arizona Coyotes did this week, they have a shot at gaining two points… two points they very much need to stay in the playoff picture.
Prediction: Oilers win 5-2
Los Angeles Kings vs New Jersey Devils
Head-to-Head: Kings 0 – 0 Devils
This is the first meeting of these two clubs who are both underperforming this season. The Los Angeles Kings have pretty much decided to sell at the trade deadline. They already traded Kyle Clifford and backup goalie Jack Campbell to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Trevor Moore and draft picks.
The Kings are not going anywhere, much like being stuck on the I-405 freeway. Their only hope is to get a good draft pick as they are dug in residing in the Western Conference cellar. Campbell is a pretty good quality backup goalie who should help solidify the Leafs issues in between the pipes. Not sure why the Kings traded him since Jonathan Quick seems to be on the twilight of his career and has been in trade rumours. It looks Calvin Petersen will inherit the backup role for now.
The New Jersey Devils have gone 4-3-3 in their last 10 games but are struggling through a very frustrating season. Hopes were that they would be much more competitive with the roster improvements they made over the summer. Not so much… not yet. They really seemed to expect a playoff spot, but that’s not about to happen. Their play under new head coach Alain Nasreddine (10-11-6) may be a step in the right direction. Still, this game means almost nothing to both clubs as they both have little chance to go anywhere.
Prediction: Devils win 4-1
Colorado Avalanche vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Head-to-Head: Avalanche 1 – 0 Blue Jackets
The Colorado Avalanche have a chance to overtake the Western Conference leading Blues if they can get on a roll. Lately, they have gone 5-3-2 and hold three games-in-hand over the reigning Cup champs. Trailing them by just six points means they are within striking range. One player who must be noted is young 21-year-old defenceman Cale Makar. He is literally burning up the league with 40 points in 44 games. This kid is on his way to super-stardom! Add in the offence of Nathan MacKinnon (30-G, 44-A) and you have a winning formula for success. This team’s statistics are impressive with the third-best offence and eight best defence in the NHL. Just try and stop them… oh yeah, the Blue Jackets are tasked with that. Good luck!
The Columbus Blue Jackets may be surprising quite a few skeptics about their chances this season. Winners of 10 of their last 13 games has some people stunned with their success. They lost a ton of talent to free agency, yet remain relevant in the standings. How are they doing it? Through good defence (best in the NHL) and goaltending (.921 save percentage, 2.38 goals-against average) has led the way. They really don’t score much with just 2.67 goals per game. The Blue Jackets must play back-to-back games with a contest against the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night. They have strong coaching and have survived without Artemi Panarin and Matt Duchene. Besides, with a goalie named Elvis, how can they go wrong?
Prediction: Avalanche win 5-3
Dallas Stars vs St. Louis Blues
Head-to-Head: Stars 0 – 2 Blues
* This is our featured game of the night for late games on NHL predictions
Thus far this season the Dallas Stars have not been able to get past the Blues, reminiscent of their loss in seven games to the Blues last season in the second round of the playoffs. They hope to change that as this is a four-point game for them. They trail the Blues by seven points but have two games-in-hand before their Friday night tilt with the Minnesota Wild. The Stars need to make the Blues see some stars since the St. Louis club has been licking their wounds of late going just 4-5-1 over their last 10 contests.
The St. Louis Blues have been atop of the Western Conference standings for a while. They’ve made it easy to favour them in this NHL predictions series. Can they maintain their lead? The Blues are strong offensively down the middle with five centres ranking in the top seven scorers on the team. If you can stop them there you have a shot at beating them. If the Blues don’t show they are top feeders in their conference another team will gladly take over for them. Should be a tough, close game with two excellent goalies battling it out.
Prediction: Stars win in shootout 3-2
Calgary Flames vs Vancouver Canucks
Head-to-Head: Flames 1 – 1 Canucks
The Calgary Flames have been hot and then not so hot lately. Going just 4-5-1 has not helped that recent lack of success. Losing three straight isn’t exactly appealing either. The Flames will need to do without their premier defenceman Mark Giordano who is out week-to-week. The only thing going for the Flames may be that the Canucks are really flat lately. Calgary has to be motivated since they trail the Coyotes by just one point to grab the first wild-card spot and have a game-in-hand on them too. If Matthew Tkachuk can behave himself, the Flames have a shot in this game.
The Vancouver Canucks have fallen off the streak they had going. The Canucks have gone 0-2-1 in the last three road games while only scoring five goals in those three games. This after they had won seven of eight games and looking invincible. If they intend on keeping their Pacific Division lead, they had better show up for this game.
Prediction: Flames win 3-2 in overtime
Carolina Hurricanes vs Vegas Golden Knights
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 0 – 1 Golden Knights
The Carolina Hurricanes fresh off a comeback win in Arizona where they overcame a two-goal deficit to win 5-3 on Thursday night, face a tough Vegas team. They need to gain some ground to stay ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers who are tied with them for the last wild card spot. The ‘Canes are ahead only by a tiebreaker regulation wins at this point. It’s not easy to beat the Vegas team on their home ice just from shear fan support in an always sold-out arena. They survived an eight-game road trip with a 4-3-1 record and will be happy to be home. Carolina has their hands full in this one.
The Vegas Golden Knights are one of many Pacific Division teams fighting for their playoff lives. They are currently second, but not by much. Edmonton is just one point behind the Knights with two games-in-hand. It seems that every game is paramount in the crazy standings race. The Vegas team has received 64 goals from their top three scorers so we all know they can put the puck in the net. That’s bad news for the Hurricanes as the Golden Knights will feel right at home this first game back from a long road trip.
Prediction: Golden Knights win 4-2
That’s it for this edition of NHL predictions. Be sure to check out the early games too.