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 Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers. This is the late game slate of NHL Predictions. Be sure and check out the early games of NHL Predictions too.
St. Louis Blues vs. Winnipeg Jets
Head-to-Head: Blues 0 – 0 Jets
This is the first of four meetings between the St. Louis Blues and Winnipeg Jets. These two teams played a thrilling six-game series in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Just like at the end of last season, the Jets and Blues are battling for the top spot in the Central Division. These two teams play a home and home series this weekend. The Blues enter Bell MTS Centre on a six-game winning streak. St. Louis continues to produce offence with Vladimir Tarasenko out of the lineup. The Blues are getting offence from Ryan O’Reilly, Jaden Schwartz, and Brayden Schenn in the absent of Tarasenko. Not to mention the play of Jordan Binnington and Jake Allen has risen to an even higher level.
The Jets enter this game on a bit of a slide having lost three of their last four games. Despite all of their injuries this season, the Jets find themselves in third place in a tough Central Division. However, going up against the defending Stanley Cup Champions will be no easy task. Still, the Jets have the team to compete with anyone in the NHL. With Connor Hellebuyck rested after a surprising night off on December 23rd, he looks to put an end to the Blues winning streak. Winnipeg will need their offensive stars of Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine, Kyle Connor, and Blake Wheeler to step up. Expect this game to a close tight-checking affair.
Prediction: Blues Win 4-3 in OT
New York Islanders vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Islanders 0 – 0 Blackhawks
This is the first of two meetings between the New York Islanders and Chicago Blackhawks. Neither team is coming into this game playing well. The Islanders have lost three of their last four games. And for a Barry Trotz coached team, their defensive structure is lacking lately. There have been some games recently, where the Islanders are trying to produce more offence than protect their zone. That is what made them so good early on. The Islanders’ goaltending is still excellent outside the game against the Nashville Predators. This is the perfect opponent for the Islanders to get back on track.
On the other side of the coin, the Blackhawks are becoming the walking wounded. The Blackhawks announced that defencemen Brent Seabrook and Calvin de Haan were out for the season after undergoing season-ending surgery. Not to mention one of their top forwards Brandon Saad will miss three more weeks with an ankle injury. After having some success, the Blackhawks came back to Earth after a blowout loss on Monday night. Chicago used to be the class of the NHL and now they are in rebuild mode and you can see it on the ice. This will be another painful game for fans to watch.
Prediction: Islanders Win 5-2
Calgary Flames vs. Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Flames 0 – 0 Oilers
This our NHL predictions featured late game of the night.
The Battle of Alberta takes centre stage on Friday night as the Calgary Flames take on the Edmonton Oilers. When these two teams lock up it is must-see television. Separated by one point in the standings, these games will go a long way in determining who makes the playoffs and who is on the outside looking in. Throw out the records of each team because it does not matter when it comes to this game. While both teams are entering the game on losing streaks, look for both teams to step up and play some of their best hockey of the season. The Flames right now sit in the second wild-card spot, so another loss could propel them out of the playoffs. While a win could see them leapfrog the Oilers back into the top three. The Flames need their top players to play like their top players if they want to win this game.
On the Oilers side of things, they need more than Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl to do everything. It is great the Oilers have this dynamic duo, but they need more secondary scoring if they want to make the playoffs. Goaltending has also been an issue for the Oilers recently. Mike Smith and Mikko Koskinen need to be better considering how highly skilled the Flames team is. Both James Neal and Milan Lucic will have revenge on their minds. Both players were traded for each other in the off-season. While Neal started hot, he has come back to Earth. Lucic on the other hand has just three goals and eight points in 37 games.
Prediction: Flames Win 3-2
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Anaheim Ducks
Head-to-Head: Golden Knights 1 – 0 Ducks
This is the second of four meetings between the Vegas Golden Knights and Anaheim Ducks. In the first meeting back in October, the Golden Knights defeated the Ducks by a score of 5-2. While that game was in Vegas, look for something similar to happen in Anaheim on Friday night. Despite their recent loss to the Colorado Avalanche, the Golden Knights are playing well. Currently, the Golden Knights sit in second place in the Pacific Division, a win could propel them to the top spot, where everyone expected them to be.
Look how the mighty have fallen. No pun intended. The Ducks were once one of the best teams in the NHL, now they sit at the bottom of the Western Conference Standings. The Ducks are heading in a different direction. They are trying to get younger, but with that comes with growing pains. And this season has been one of those growing pains. While goaltender John Gibson continues to play at a high level, he can only do so much. This will be a tall task for the Ducks to overcome.
Prediction: Golden Knights Win 4-2
Los Angeles Kings vs. San Jose Sharks
Head-to-Head: Sharks 2 – 0 Kings
This is the third meeting between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. The Sharks took the first two meetings between these two teams. The first game went to overtime where the Sharks snuck out a victory. The next game the Sharks blew the doors off the Kings. San Jose has owned this rivalry in recent years. Just like the Ducks, the Kings and Sharks used to be on top of the Western Conference. The Kings returned from their road trip only to fall to the Blues. Usually, those things happen. The Kings could be refreshed after some time off, however, they are playing a rival they have struggled against.
The Sharks are on a three-game losing streak entering this game. However, playing an in-state rival always brings out the best in the Sharks. Plus the game is on home ice. One thing that has been missing has been that extra energy and fire. That can be attributed to the loss of Joe Pavelski. The Sharks just do not have that edge they used to have. Similar to what the Toronto Maple Leafs are going through where most of their money is tied up in offence, the Sharks have a lot of my tied up in their defence. The Sharks goaltending has not been up to par either, but in this game, they will find a way to win.
Prediction: Sharks Win 4-3
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