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 11th 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 Edmonton Oilers vs The Chicago Blackhawks.
Be sure to also check out the early game NHL Predictions to stay informed.
Minnesota Wild vs Vegas Golden Knights
Head-to-Head: Wild 0-1 Golden Knights
Before reading this, guess how far away the Minnesota Wild are from playoff contention. Unless you guessed “within striking distance” you may be surprised. The Wild are 6-4-0 over their last 10 games and sit just four points out of the second wild-card. This puts Minnesota in an awkward position going into the deadline. Are they contenders? Almost certainly not. They should still sell going into the deadline.
The Vegas Golden Knights are simultaneously very lucky, and very unlucky. On one hand, the Golden Knights are an elite play-driving team that sits third in the league in Corsi-for percentage. (according to Natural Stat Trick) This has not lead to the results they would have hoped for as they are not winning tons of games and even had to fire their now-former head coach, Gerard Gallant. Despite this misfortune, Vegas is lucky that the Pacific Division is not terribly strong at the moment. The Golden Knights are tied for best goal differential in the division at +8 and sit in a playoff spot. They have all the talent to turn into contenders this season. They’ll get it done in Minnesota.
Prediction: Golden Knights win 4-2
Winnipeg Jets vs New York Rangers
Head-to-Head: Jets 0-1 Rangers
The Winnipeg Jets refuse to go away. After seemingly falling out of the playoff race, the Jets rattled off three straight victories to put themselves back in a wild card spot. Patrik Laine recently scored a hat-trick just on the power play. Winnipeg has held opponents to just two goals in six straight contests. If the Jets can keep playing like that, they just may sneak into the playoffs.
The New York Rangers have shown a lot of promise this season. It will not result in playoffs or even a chance to get there, but the Rangers should be set up well for the future. Artemi Panarin has been better than advertised and the team sits four games above “hockey .500” at 27-23-4. Things are looking up in New York, but the Jets are trying to compete now. That propels them to a win in this one.
Prediction: Jets win 3-2
Dallas Stars vs Carolina Hurricanes
Head-to-Head: Stars 0-0 Hurricanes
This match-up features two of the stingiest teams in the league. Though they’re similarly adept at limiting goals, the outlook for both teams is drastically different. It isn’t difficult to make the case (as we’ve made here before) that the Carolina Hurricanes are the best team not in a playoff spot. The Hurricanes feature depth at every position, even with an injury to Dougie Hamilton. The Hurricanes’ +27 goal-differential bests 11 of the 16 teams currently in a playoff spot. And yet, Carolina finds themselves on the outside looking in. And they face a tough test in this matchup.
The Dallas Stars have become one of the toughest teams to face in the NHL. Though they haven’t scored at the rate we’re used to seeing, the additions of Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry have inserted even more grit into a big lineup. Speaking of big, gargantuan goaltender Ben Bishop has continued playing like one of the best goalies in the league. Dallas has built itself as one of the toughest teams to play, and this may translate even more into playoff success. The Hurricanes are still a bit banged up, and that makes playing a team like Dallas a stylistic match-up nightmare.
Prediction: Stars win 3-1
Colorado Avalanche vs Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Avalanche 1-0 Senators
This may be the most uneven game of the night as the Colorado Avalanche take on the Ottawa Senators. We won’t spend much time on this one. The Senators are losers of four straight games as they continue a season that is all about building towards the future. The team should be stripped for scraps in the next couple of weeks to gain as many future assets at possible. Colorado, on the other hand, is gearing up for a Stanley Cup contending postseason. Nathan MacKinnon is solidly in the heart trophy race, while Cale Makar remains one of the two favourites (along with Quinn Hughes) to take home the Calder. Colorado should win this easily.
Prediction: Avalanche win 5-2
Edmonton Oilers vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Oilers 0-1 Blackhawks
In these segments about the Edmonton Oilers, we usually take the time to rightfully praise the two-headed monster of Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. Now we’ll take the time to praise Kailer Yamamoto. Yamamoto has registered 12 points in 14 games this year. More impressively, he has done so without any substantial time on the power play. The Oilers seem to be tired of losing and have cemented themselves in the playoff race.
The Chicago Blackhawks, on the other hand, have cemented themselves as the streakiest team in the league. The team has lost three straight games, (though two of them were in overtime) but has gained points in 8 of their last 10 games. Much like the Minnesota Wild, The Blackhawks are surprisingly in the thick of the playoff race. That being said, the Oilers seem to be playing better as of late.
Prediction: Oilers win 4-3
Anaheim Ducks vs St. Louis Blues
Head-to-Head: Ducks 1-1 Blues
The St. Louis Blues are the better team in this contest. They have more depth at every position and are just playing better hockey. Jordan Binnington has not been as solid post-all-star break as he was before, but there may be no better game to turn it around than this one.
The Anaheim Ducks are currently more focused on the future than the present. They should be looking to sell off assets at the deadline and prep for next year’s NHL entry draft. The team struggles to score but does have promising young goaltender, John Gibson. Expect the Blues to win in low-scoring action.
Prediction: Blues win 3-1