Welcome back to NHL Predictions, where each day Last Word On Hockey looks at all the NHL games. We give analysis and our predictions for what the score will be. As always, check out the other half of the games too. Today’s NHL Predictions Featured Game is the Buffalo Sabres vs Toronto Maple Leafs.
New York Rangers vs New Jersey Devils
Head-to-Head: Rangers 0 – 1 Devils
Both of these teams have struggled in the early going of this season. What’s worse is that both of these teams were expected to make pretty big improvements from last year and just haven’t been able to. However, part of this is due to a tough division. There are very few bad teams in the Metro. This leaves both of these teams fighting for points each night. The New York Rangers added Artemi Panarin, Jacob Trouba, and Kaapo Kakko in the offseason. They find themselves 12-9-3 which puts them on pace for 92 points. However, they are still sixth in their division. They are 4-1-1 in their last six games and appear to have found their step.
As for the New Jersey Devils, they added P.K. Subban, Nikita Gusev, and Jack Hughes this offseason. Despite that, they still sit dead last in their division. Their goaltending just hasn’t been good enough. MacKenzie Blackwood has a .900 save percentage and a -4.46 Goals Saved Above Average. Cory Schneider has a .852 save percentage and a -9.88 GSAA in just six games. That is absolutely brutal and there is no way teams can win with that. Taylor Hall trade talks have started to heat up. However, for now, the Devils will stay focused on winning games. They may be in tough today against a New York team that has really found their game.
Prediction: Rangers win 5-3.
Philadelphia Flyers vs Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Flyers 1 – 0 Canadiens
The Montreal Canadiens are in all sorts of trouble currently. They have lost six games in a row and Carey Price has not looked good during that stretch. What’s worse, it doesn’t seem like head coach Claude Julien trusts the backup Keith Kinkaid. Kinkaid has played just five of the team’s 25 games. He has a .877 save percentage and can’t seem to find his game. Montreal is officially out of a playoff spot for the first time in weeks. It was smooth sailing to start but this team has started to fall apart. Montreal is hoping that they can catch the Flyers sleeping as they traveled from Philadelphia.
For the Philadelphia Flyers, they are in third in that loaded metro division. Points are very tight in the East. Just a few games and you can go from near the top of your division to out of the Wild Card. Philly has won three in a row and Carter Hart has started to find his game now too. It seems likely Brian Elliott will get the start as Hart started yesterday. Travel and back-to-backs will make this a very tough game for Philly to win. However, if there is a team to do it against it’s the struggling Canadiens.
Prediction: Flyers win 4-3 in Overtime.
Buffalo Sabres vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Head-to-Head: Sabres 1 – 0 Maple Leafs
This is NHL Predictions featured game of the night as it should be heated. The Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs played yesterday in Buffalo. This saw the Sabres come from behind and win 6-4. However, Michael Hutchinson struggled mightly in net as the Toronto backup let up more than four goals again. He has done that in each start this season. Tonight, Frederik Andersen will get the nod and he should be hungry for a win. This is a huge game in the standings as both teams are tied for the third spot in the Atlantic with 28 points.
The Sabres know that a win tonight and taking four points in two nights would be massive. Carter Hutton is likely to start tonight. He’s been alright this season but nothing spectacular. Rasmus Ristolainen and Jack Eichel always seem to get up when it comes to playing the Leafs. Casey Mittelstadt popped one home last night and he will look to get back on track. This Sabres team is solid all-round and it is why it should be another great game. Hence, being NHL Predictions featured game.
Prediction: Leafs win 4-3.
Ottawa Senators vs Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Senators 0 – 0 Flames
After a bit of a hot streak, the Ottawa Senators have seen themselves lose three in a row. Yesterday they were blown out by the Minnesota Wild in a 7-2 game. They then had to fly to Calgary where the Calgary Flames are rested and waiting. Ottawa will be hard-pressed to find two points here tonight. No one likes losing both games on a back-to-back but this may be a tough circumstance to do so. The Sens are clearly still in a transition year but Thomas Chabot, Brady Tkachuk, Anthony Duclair, and co have all looked promising. Expect Ottawa to put up a big fight here.
The Flames have had a very busy week. Bill Peters officially resigned yesterday after stories of him using racial slurs as well as physically abusing players on the bench arisen. The team itself is now under Geoff Ward and they are 1-0-0 under him. With a new coach behind the bench, it seems fair that the Flames will be hungry for another win. Combine this with the fact that they have been waiting at home for Ottawa and it looks good. However, Ottawa will not want to be embarrassed again and they will no doubt bring a fight. This should be a good one.
Prediction: Flames win 5-4.
Nashville Predators vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Predators 0 – 1 Panthers
The Florida Panthers are currently second in their division. However, what is even more amazing is that they are doing that with very poor goaltending. Sergei Bobrovsky has been a disaster and this team can’t buy a stop. Their defence hasn’t been elite by any means but there comes a time when you just need a save. Especially when your goalie is making double digits. The Panthers offence is rolling. Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Mike Hoffman, Evgenii Dadonov, and Vincent Trocheck lead the way as the Panthers have one of the most underrated forward cores in the league. Coach Joel Quenneville has this team playing hard and they are a tough two points each night.
The Nashville Predators, on the other hand, have been an absolute disaster. After a very hot start to the season, the Preds have a 2-7-1 record in their past 10 games. They are now missing Viktor Arvidsson for 4-6 weeks because of an insanely dirty play. However, they will need to work through that as they have a tough test in Florida. Pekka Rinne hasn’t been at the Vezina levels Preds fans have come to expect from him. This could be a very high scoring game given the two team’s goalies.
Prediction: Predators win 6-5 in Overtime.
Washington Capitals vs Detroit Red Wings
Head-to-Head: Capitals 0 – 0 Red Wings
The Washington Capitals have been one of, if not the best, teams in hockey this year. They have an 18-4-5 record which sits them first in their division. They do have a bunch more games played than most teams but they are winning those games. It will be hard for most teams to catch them. They are playing some great hockey, even though some of their team has found their way into NHL Rumours. The Capitals will likely come out firing from all angles. Alex Ovechkin isn’t leading in goals but is still having a great season. This team is loaded from top to bottom and will be a lot to handle.
The Detroit Red Wings have really struggled this year. Jimmy Howard and Jonathan Bernier have been bad and there just isn’t much roster talent. The depth is poor to say the least, and the defence core is one of the worst in the league right now. They have some young and very promising pieces. However, this season is about growing those pieces. Detroit’s goal is to be a hard two points every night. They have been blown out by Philly and Toronto in their last two games. Being outscored 12-1 in the two. Things may not be too different here.
Prediction: Capitals win 6-2.
That’s all for NHL Predictions, tune in tomorrow for more!