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 Dallas Stars vs. Toronto Maple Leafs. This is the early game slate of NHL Predictions. Be sure and check out the late games of NHL Predictions too.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 1 – 1 Sabres
As the Columbus Blue Jackets head into their rubber matchup with the Buffalo Sabres on a bit of a slide losing two straight games. Columbus is in a good position in the standings sitting in the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Blue Jackets have done more with less this season as the team continues to deal with injuries. Players like Seth Jones, Josh Anderson, Joonas Korpisalo, Dean Kukan, Ryan Murray, Alexandre Texier, Alexander Wennberg, and Cam Atkinson are all out of the lineup for weeks if not months. Yet the Blue Jackets continue to win pick up points. Elvis Merzlikins just needed an opportunity to be the man in Columbus and he has made the most of it. With the standings so tight, the Blue Jackets will want to pick at least a point in this one.
The Sabres are heading in the wrong direction. Another fabulous start has been ruined as the Sabres cannot carry their momentum month to month. The frustration is evident and none more so than with star forward Jack Eichel. Eichel has done everything in his power to get his team to win this year. But he can do only so much. Eichel needs help from his teammates in order for the Sabres to win. The first two matchups between these teams went to a shootout expect nothing less when these teams get together Thursday night.
Prediction: Blue Jackets win 3-2 in overtime.
Dallas Stars vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Head-to-Head: Maple Leafs 1 – 0 Stars
This is the NHL Predictions featured early game of the night.
This is the second meeting of the season between the Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs. The Stars are looking for some revenge as the Maple Leafs went into their barn in January and picked up the victory. Dallas currently sits third in a tough Central Division. However, they have teams nipping at their heals, specifically the Winnipeg Jets. The Stars will want to find a way to pick up the victory in Toronto to increase their lead over the Jets in the standings. Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Roope Hintz, and Corey Perry are heating up. Perry especially who is playing some of his best hockey this season. The Stars will be without Joe Pavelski, who is also picking up his play. But the Stars have the team to give the Maple Leafs a run for their money.
While the Maple Leafs have picked up five of six points over their last six games, it does not feel like fans are positive about their play. Currently occupying the third spot in the Atlantic Division, the Maple Leafs need to keep winning and picking up points. In order to do so, they will need to play a full 60 minutes. Toronto is a solid team through 40 minutes, but their play dips in the third period. Even with Jack Campbell riding the ship in net, the Maple Leafs defence is still an area of weakness. Can the Maple Leafs figure out a way to outscore their problems on defence? If so Toronto will win this game and find a way into the playoffs.
Prediction: Maple Leafs win 4-2.
Edmonton Oilers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Head-to-Head: Oilers 0 – 0 Lightning
This is the first of two meetings between the Edmonton Oilers and Tampa Bay Lightning. Both teams enter this contest with injuries to star players. The Oilers figured out a way to win on Tuesday night without Connor McDavid in the lineup. Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Kailer Yamamoto have been unstoppable for the Oilers lately. With McDavid out two-to-three weeks, can the Oilers keep finding ways to win without him the lineup? They will need to if they want to stay in the playoff race in the Pacific. Now with James Neal hurt as well, the Oilers will have their depth tested even more.
The Lightning enters this game on an eight-game winning streak. However, that winning streak has come with a price. Nikita Kucherov and Anthony Cirelli were injured during the team’s game on Tuesday night. If those two are out for a period of time, the Lightning will be put to the test. However, unlike previous years, this year the Lightning know how to deal with adversity. Tampa Bay sits behind the Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division. They have made up so much ground and it will only help them come playoff time. With both teams down key players in their lineup, this game is more even than people think. But the Lightning just has too many weapons to deal with, so this will be a tough test for the Oilers.
Prediction: Lightning win 5-3.
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Flyers 1 – 1 Panthers
Thursday night’s game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Florida Panthers has so much meaning. With both teams battling for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, this game will go a long way in determining who may get the final spot if these teams end tied for points. The Flyers took the most recent meeting between the two teams on Monday night. However, the Panthers are going to be looking for revenge. The Flyers sit in the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia is glad to have Carter Hart back in the lineup. He has taken some of the pressure off of Brian Elliott. However, Hart will need to find ways to pick up wins on the road. He has a better home record than on the road.
The Panthers in a position where no team likes to be in. While they sit three points out of a playoff spot, they are also looking towards the future. If the Panthers end up losing this game to the Flyers, do the Panthers start thinking about becoming a seller at the trade deadline? Not having Aleksander Barkov in the lineup has definitely hurt the Panthers. While they still have Jonathan Huberdeau, Evgenii Dadonov, and Vincent Trocheck, Barkov brings another element these players do not. But being on home ice could be the advantage the Panthers need to put them over the top.
Prediction: Flyers win 3-1.
Detroit Red Wings vs. New Jersey Devils
Head-to-Head: Devils 1 – 0 Red Wings
My how the mighty have fallen. The New Jersey Devils and Detroit Red Wings were perennial Stanley Cup contenders in the late 90s and early 2000s. Both teams are near the bottom of the standings and in rebuilding modes. The two teams will play each other twice in two weeks. While Detroit and New Jersey have been able to pull off some surprise victories, neither is close to being a contender for the Stanley Cup anytime soon. Both teams have nice young pieces on their teams that will be emerging stars in the NHL in the near future. In addition, both teams are dealing with injuries to key players. The Devils and Red Wings play a similar style. Both teams can score goals, but pride themselves on defence, however, that has not happened this season. This will game will come down which team makes the least mistakes.
Prediction: Devils win 3-2.
Arizona Coyotes vs. Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Coyotes 1 – 0 Senators
This is the final game of the season between the Arizona Coyotes and the Ottawa Senators. The Coyotes took the first game by a score of 5-2. Arizona is looking to end its swing through Eastern Canada on a winning note. The Coyotes have picked up three points so far picking up a win over the Montreal Canadiens and getting a point in an overtime loss to the Maple Leafs. Arizona is still alive in a tough Pacific Division as they hold onto the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. While outsiders look at the acquisition of Taylor Hall as a bad thing, the thing that hurt the Coyotes the most is not having Darcy Kuemper. Kuemper has been a stud and Antti Raanta and Adin Hill can do only so much. A win against Ottawa will help their cause to make the playoffs.
The Senators are in a similar position as they were last season near the bottom of the standings. Ottawa is currently riding a six-game losing streak and will probably sellers as the trade deadline comes around on February 24th. The Senators are building for the future and so you have to wonder if they do trade certain players away, will they re-sign them in the off-season. The Senators will put up a fight for at least two periods and give the Coyotes a run for their money. However, being that they are coming back from a road trip, the odds are not in their favour.
Prediction: Coyotes win 5-1.
That does it for NHL Predictions for the early games for February 13th.