Welcome back to NHL Predictions, where the Last Word on Hockey team provides insight into all of today’s games. On Wednesday, January 8th’s edition of NHL Predictions, we’ll take a look at three games. Today’s featured game is the battle of the Winnipeg Jets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs.
Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Head-to-Head: Capitals 1 – 0 Flyers
It’s the second battle of the two heavyweights in the Metropolitan Division, as the Philadelphia Flyers host the Washington Capitals. In their first regular-season head-to-head meeting, on the Wednesday Hockey Night, as well, the Caps won in Philadelphia in a shootout. The Capitals still lead the entire NHL, although their recent form hasn’t been the best.
The Flyers had a horrible post-Christmas west trip. They entered a six-game road swing on a four-game winning streak. However, they got only one overtime win against the Anaheim Ducks. In the other four games on the West Coast, the Flyers lost all contests giving up 22 goals. The Flyers certainly welcome the chance to return home, where they have suffered only two regulation losses, and gained 30 points.
Both teams are playing on a back-to-back night schedule, Philadelphia played in Carolina on Tuesday, while the Caps hosted the Ottawa Senators. The Capitals won their last three games played in Philadelphia.
Prediction: Flyers win 4-3.
Winnipeg Jets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Head-to-Head: Jets 0 – 1 Maple Leafs
As for our featured game of the NHL Predictions, it’s the all-Canadian game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Winnipeg Jets. Not as heated as of a few years back, but it’s still the battle of Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, the 2016 NHL Draft top-two selections. The Maple Leafs saw their 10-game point streak come to an end with a loss to the Edmonton Oilers at home on Monday. The streak of 9-0-1 was impressive. With 53 points, the Leafs seem secure in the playoff frame, again. However, they need to keep pushing as the playoff race in the Eastern Conference is presently wide-open.
The Jets have ended their short two-game losing slide on Monday winning on the road versus the Montreal Canadiens. Before that win, the Jets have lost seven of their prior nine contests. Winnipeg has 50 points, 22 of those the Jets obtained on home ice, which ranks as the worst home record in the West. Their 28 points from the road action is ranked as one of the best in the West.
In their last home game, the Jets lost 6-3 to the Maple Leafs. They will attempt to get their revenge on Wednesday at Scotiabank Arena. It won’t get any easier as the Jets travel to play the Boston Bruins on Thursday. In the Matthews-Laine era, the Maple Leafs are 5-1-1 against Winnipeg, winning three most recent contests in regulation. This season, Matthews has 52 points to lead Toronto, Laine has 40 points, third on the Jets, beyond Kyle Connor with 41 points, and Mark Scheifele with 48 points, who leads Winnipeg.
Prediction: Maple Leafs win 4-3 in overtime.
Dallas Stars vs. Los Angeles Kings
Head-to-Head: Stars 0 – 0 Kings
In the last game of Wednesday’s portion of the NHL Predictions, we are headed to California, where the Los Angeles Kings host the Dallas Stars at the Staples Center. The Stars had plenty of time to enjoy their huge Winter Classic victory last Wednesday, as they have played only one game since. In that game last Friday, the Stars downed the Detroit Red Wings at home. Dallas, with 52 points, has to continue its solid recent form to maintain the playoff spot in the Central Division. The Stars have won four contests in a row.
On the other hand, the Kings have contrastly different issues. With 38 points, the Kings occupy the last spot in the Western Conference, and their playoff hopes are as thin as they could get. In the New Year, Los Angeles has lost both home games with a total score of 3-8. The Stars have won their six last games in Los Angeles. It’s their first head-to-head meeting this season, they will play once more here at Staples Center, as well as one match at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Prediction: Stars win 4-2.