NHL Predictions: February 22nd Early Games – Including Carolina Hurricanes vs Toronto Maple Leafs

NHL Predictions
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 23: Toronto Maple Leafs Winger William Nylander (88) shoots on Carolina Hurricanes Goalie Petr Mrazek (34) in the second period during the regular season NHL game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs on December 23, 2019 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON. (Photo by Gerry Angus/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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 Carolina Hurricanes 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.

NHL Predictions

Winnipeg Jets vs Philadelphia Flyers

Head-to-Head: Jets 1 – 0 Flyers

The first time these two teams met the Winnipeg Jets beat the Philadelphia Flyers 7-3 on home ice. However, that was back in 2019 and much has changed since then. Both of these teams are in fights for their lives when it comes to the playoffs. The Jets are on the road but look to keep momentum up. They have won three in a row and six of their last eight games. This has propelled them right back into the wild card hunt. Connor Hellebuyck has been amazing in net all year and a big reason why this Jets team is in the mix.

As for the Flyers, they currently find themselves in a playoff spot. However, not by much. The Metropolitan Division is loaded and every point counts. The Flyers desperately need to take two points here today. One advantage they have is that it is a 1 pm EST start. This means Winnipeg will be playing even earlier in their local time. That may slow the feet down a little to start, even though Winnipeg has been out East for a few days now. Look for this to be a tight matchup.

Prediction: Flyers win 4-3 in Overtime.

Buffalo Sabres vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Head-to-Head: Sabres 1 – 0 Penguins

The Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins are two very opposite teams right now. Buffalo has fallen down the standings as 2020 has progressed and once again find themselves way out of the playoff picture. The fanbase is, rightfully, fed up and demands change. However, that may not come right away. For now, another wasted season of Jack Eichel is in the mix. Jeff Skinner isn’t living up to his contract and the Sabres are dieing for secondary scoring. That may be an issue against a deep Penguins team.

Pittsburgh has dealt with a ton of adversity this year. Countless man-games lost to injury and lots of those being to key players. However, they have found a way to keep on moving and now sit atop the Metro division. Jason Zucker is already looking like a good pickup and the Penguins are rolling. They are 4-1-1 in their last six and won’t want to slow down now. Look for the Pens to use their speed and depth to overwhelm the Sabres.

Prediction: Penguins win 5-2.

Washington Capitals vs New Jersey Devils

Head-to-Head: Capitals 2 – 1 Devils

All eyes will be on Alex Ovechkin as he keeps on looking for goal 700. He got 699 on Thursday night and now just needs one more. The Washington Capitals have lost their division lead to the Penguins and will look to take a step in claiming it back. Washington has faltered as of lately, they are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games and desperately need to get back on track. Having the first seed come playoff time is something they will likely want.

On the other side of things, the New Jersey Devils are very clearly rebuilding. They have traded away captain Andy Greene, Taylor Hall, and also Blake Coleman. The return was high for a few of those players and there is hope for the future. However, right now the Devils are in some trouble. They are 5-3-2 in their last 10 which isn’t horrible, but they do struggle to keep pucks out of the net and also to create offence at times. This may be an issue against an offensively loaded Capitals team.

Prediction: Capitals win 5-3.

Carolina Hurricanes vs Toronto Maple Leafs

Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 0 – 1 Maple Leafs

The last time these two teams played it was an absolute barn burner. The Leafs defeated the Hurricanes 8-6 in Toronto. This was a game that had absolutely wild swings either way. While this game may not be quite that, it is still exciting enough to be NHL Predictions featured game of the night. The Hurricanes and Maple Leafs are both in the thick of the playoff battle. Both teams want two points and that is what should make this game so entertaining. Carolina is above .500 in their last 10 but still find themselves behind some of the other Metro teams due to how good that division is. They also played last night which is a disadvantage.

The Maple Leafs haven’t played since Thursday when they had a statement win against the Penguins. They will need to build off of that to keep the Florida Panthers behind them. Florida had a big loss out West the other night so the Leafs better be hungry to take advantage of that. Toronto has battled through injuries all year, but goaltending hasn’t helped as much as they need. Frederik Andersen hasn’t been his usual self. However, he was on Thursday. They will need Andersen and Jack Campbell to be solid going forward.

Prediction: Toronto wins 5-4 in a shootout.

San Jose Sharks vs New York Rangers

Head-to-Head: Sharks 0 – 1 Rangers

To say this has been a disastrous season for the San Jose Sharks may be putting it lightly. The Sharks have had the bottom fall out of their team. Underperforming, age and lots of injuries have all hit this season. To make it worse, they don’t have their first-round draft pick. Erik Karlsson and Thomas Hertl shut down for the year, Logan Couture out too, this is a rough time for San Jose fans. However, the team continues to try and truck on. They are 5-5-0 in their last 10 and look to play spoiler down the stretch.

The New York Rangers are attempting to play themselves near a playoff spot. This may not be the year they do it, but improvements have been obvious. The Rangers played last night so they will be on little rest and will be in tough for this one. Rumours about Henrik Lundqvist are flying around, but the team needs to stay focused. Artemi Panarin is showing why the Rangers were right to pay him this season. If the Rangers use their speed and skill, they will overpower San Jose here today.

Prediction: Rangers win 4-2.

Montreal Canadiens vs Ottawa Senators

Head-to-Head: Canadiens 2 – 1 Senators

The Montreal Canadiens and the Ottawa Senators are facing off for the final time this season. Montreal has taken two of the first three meetings. However, all three games have been insanely close. Each one has gone to overtime to be decided. These two teams play each other hard and will continue to as the NHL Trade Deadline approaches. The Habs are fighting for their lives as they have slipped multiple times this year. They are figuring out what to do with Ilya Kovalchuk, but the hot hand will likely be suiting up tonight.

As for Ottawa, they have a number of names up in the air. However, they won’t be focused on that. They have been trying to play spoiler to teams all year. This is a team that isn’t flooded with talent but they work hard every night. Because of that, they can often surprise teams who aren’t expecting much of a challenge. These two teams rivalry goes back a few years now, it’s heated every time they play. Tonight should be no different.

Prediction: Montreal wins 2-1 in Overtime.

That’s all for NHL Predictions, tune in tomorrow for more!

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