Welcome back to NHL Predictions. Every day Last Word on Hockey brings you a prediction and analysis of every game on the schedule. In today’s edition of the February 15th NHL Predictions, we’ll cover six games. Today’s featured game is a battle between the Los Angeles Kings and the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL Stadium Series. This game will be played at Falcon Stadium, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Dallas Stars vs Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Stars 1 – 0 Canadiens
The Dallas Stars are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and are trying to overtake the Avalanche for the second spot in the Central Division. They have a comfortable lead of eight points over the Winnipeg Jets, so every game is critical. They only trail the Av’s by one point, and are actually only three points behind the slumping St. Louis Blues. While the Stars are not killing it on offence, ranking 25th, they are second in defence. Ben Bishop is 19-12-4 with a .924 save percentage and a 2.37 goals against average. Anton Khudobin is just as impressive with a14-7-1 record. He has a .928 save percentage and a 2.26 goals against average. Just think how impossible the Stars would be to stop if they started to score more often.
The Montreal Canadiens are fighting for their playoff lives, just as they did last season before bowing out. They trail by 10 points with only 23 games remaining on their schedule. It’s win games or go home early, just like last season. To make up 10 points in the standings they must go on a considerable winning streak. They’re 6-4 in their last 10 games, but have dropped two straight. Max Domi is not scoring at the pace he did last year with only a 0.39 points per game stat compared to 0.54 last season. He only has 14 goals. So, this will be a tough one for the Habs to lose.
Prediction: Stars win 4-1
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Maple Leafs 2 – 0 Senators
The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without Andreas Johnsson for at least eight weeks with a knee injury. To make matters worse, the Leafs have just a two-point margin over the pressing Florida Panthers in the Atlantic Division. The Panthers also have a game-in-hand to work with before action on Friday night. While the Toronto club has been struggling with just a 5-4-1 record over their last 10 games, they can’t take the Senators too lightly. That’s what the Arizona Coyotes did and they lost to the Ottawa team Thursday night.
The Ottawa Senators would like to be taken seriously even though they lost six straight before they woke up against Arizona. They’ve gone 3-4-3 in their last 10 games but this one may be a bit sticky to pull out an upset. Sorry, Sens, this one will not be a pleasant experience as the Leafs have much more at stake than the Senators. Look for the Ottawa club to try and catch the license plate number of the truck running over them.
Prediction: Maple Leafs win 5-2
Los Angeles Kings vs Colorado Avalanche
Head-to-Head: Kings 0 – 0 Avalanche
* This is the NHL Predictions late games featured game
The Los Angeles Kings will attempt to spoil the Stadium Series game for the Av’s. The Kings are in the midst of a fire sale for selling off players of interest to continue their rebuild. At this point in the season, the Kings can only receive joy via being the spoiler. They are fresh off of a win against the Calgary Flames as newly promoted rookie goalie Calvin Petersen came away with the win. The Flames were extinguished 5-3 and the Kings felt pretty darn good about themselves.
The Colorado Avalanche need to continue their winning ways as the last portion of the season moves along. They are putting the pressure on the first-place Blues by being just two points behind them and having a game-in-hand. This game can solidify their surge to be on top of the Western Conference standings. And what a better venue to hold this game than outdoors in the winter wonderland known as Colorado? The Av’s should be really pumped up for this one, and may well… pardon the pun– cause an avalanche!
Prediction: Avalanche win 3-1
Chicago Blackhawks vs Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Blackhawks 1 – 1 Flames
The Chicago Blackhawks have been up and down this season, and still have an outside shot at a playoff berth… if the planets all align. They are only six points out of a wild-card spot with 25 games left to catch up. It’s not impossible, yet they are only 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. They have dropped five straight, which is not a good sign. Patrick Kane continues to pace the ‘Hawks with 69 points including 25 goals. He can’t do it himself, and if the Windy City team wants to be playing in the postseason they had better step up their game.
The Calgary Flames have been trading places with the Coyotes for the top wild-card spot and have gone only 4-5-1 lately. Of course, the faltering Coyotes aren’t putting significant pressure on the Flames. This is an important game for both teams, and whoever loses may falter behind the mad pack known as the Western Conference playoffs race.
Prediction: Blackhawks win 3-2 in overtime
Washington Capitals vs Arizona Coyotes
Head-to-Head: Capitals 0 – 1 Coyotes
The news around the Washington Capitals is when will Alex Ovechkin get his 700th goal? The Caps will more than likely be looking for some revenge, as the Coyotes took the first game between them earlier this season. You know Alex will be the focus of the Coyotes, so losing track of the rest of the Caps will be a distraction. The Washington team has fallen to third in the Eastern Conference as the powerful Boston Bruins and surging Tampa Bay Lightning are ahead of them. This game is going to show us all what the Caps can do.
The Arizona Coyotes have been on a funk ever since they lost starting goalie Darcy Kuemper. Antti Raanta is not doing it for them. They formerly were in the top five defensively and have fallen down to ninth. They don’t have a 20-goal scorer and the player closest to that feat is one Conor Garland with 19. Go figure. No, not Phil Kessel (12), or Clayton Keller (12). Even Jakob Chychrun on defence has managed 12 goals. So, the lack of any offensive power could be the demise of the Desert Dogs playoff hopes. The Yotes have 13 home games out of 22 games remaining, but they’re not a good home team (13-11-4).
Prediction: Capitals win 4-1
New York Islanders vs Vegas Golden Knights
Head-to-Head: Islanders 1 – 0 Golden Knights
The New York Islanders have some time to catch the Capitals for first place in the Metro Division, but better start working on it. They have to make up seven points, and also pass the pesky Pittsburgh Penguins to get there. They didn’t start out a four-game road trip very well by getting thumped 5-0 by the Nashville Predators. The Islanders are a good defensive team and will need to use that prowess to get by the Golden Knights.
The Vegas Golden Knights are in the playoff hunt and are staying in the thick of it by trailing the Pacific Division-leading Vancouver Canucks by just three points. They need to get past the Edmonton Oilers too, and they have lost Connor McDavid with an injury. The Golden Knights are adjusting to their new head coach Peter DeBoer and he is getting results. It goes without saying that this a huge game for the Vegas club. The Islanders are stingy on defence, so the Golden Knights will need to adjust accordingly.
Prediction: Islanders win 4-2