Welcome back to NHL Predictions, where the Last Word on Hockey team provides insight into all of today’s games. On Wednesday, January 27th’s edition of NHL Predictions, we’ll take a look at the six games in the return from the All-Star break. Today’s featured game is a battle between the Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens.
Washington Capitals vs Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Capitals 0-1 Canadiens
Washington will be without leading goal-scorer Alex Ovechkin, who is suspended for skipping the All-Star Game without being injured. The Caps had come in winners of their last three straight before the mid-season break. John Carlson is having a Norris Trophy caliber season with 47 assists and 60 points. Ilya Samsonov has stepped up and gotten more starts in goal for a struggling Braden Holtby.
Washington’s offence scores 3.55 goals a game and gives up 2.90 a game. The Capitals’ power play scores 20.3 percent of the time and they kill off 84.2 percent of opposing power plays.
Montreal did win the only meeting between the two teams with a 5-2 win in the American capital. Tomas Tatar logged a goal and three assists in the victory. Tatar leads the club in goals (17), assists (26) and points (43). Carey Price is 20-16-4 with a 2.84 goals-against-average and .908 save percentage.
The Habs have won four of their last five and are trying to save their season. Montreal’s power play is 20.6 percent successful while they kill off 78.9 percent of penalties.
It’ll be hard without Ovechkin, but the Capitals have a good lineup and are motivated to start the second half off right.
Prediction: Capitals win 4-2.
New Jersey Devils vs Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Devils 1-1 Senators
The New Jersey Devils have lost three straight and have given up at least five goals in those defeats. Blake Coleman leads the team in goals with 19 while Kyle Palmieri is tops in points with 31. Goalie MacKenzie Blackwood has been skating with the team after concussion issues.
New Jersey scores 2.58 goals a game and allows 3.52 a game. The Devils’ power play converts at a terrible 13.9 percent and they kill 79.6 percent of penalties.
The Ottawa Senators do have a winning record at home and got a win over the Calgary Flames before the break. Ottawa had lost nine straight games before breaking through against Calgary. Anthony Duclair leads in goals (21) and points for the Sens (33). Anders Nilsson is hoping to be back with the team soon to take over for Craig Anderson in the net.
Ottawa scores 2.71 goals a game and allow 3.33 a game. The Senators’ power play is even worse than the Devils at 12.2 percent and they have an 81.1 percent success rate on the PK.
Both teams are coming off the bye week and should be rested. The Senators’ home form should be able to take them to the win.
Prediction: Senators win 4-2.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Nashville Predators
Head-to-Head: Maple Leafs 0-0 Predators
Both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Nashville Predators are looking to make a second-half surge to make the postseason. The Leafs have dropped four of their last five games and are four points out of third in the Atlantic Division. Auston Matthews leads in goals (34) and points (57) for Toronto. Frederik Andersen has struggled in recent games in net.
The Maple Leafs have scored 3.57 goals a game and give up 3.29 a game. Toronto’s power play gets a goal 24.4 percent of the time and they kill 76.3 percent of penalties.
Nashville has won three of its last five games but need work to get back into the playoff mix. Filip Forsberg leads in goals with 16 while Roman Josi is the top point-getter with 48. Goaltending has been an issue as both Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros have struggled in net.
The Predators net 3.30 goals a game and surrender 3.21 a game. Nashville scores on the power play 16.9 percent of the time and kill 73.6 percent of penalties.
Both teams are desperate for a win to start the second half off right. The Predators’ recent run is more encouraging.
Prediction: Predators win 4-3 in overtime.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Dallas Stars
Head-to-Head: Lightning 0-1 Stars
The Tampa Bay Lightning have been red-hot with an 11-2-0 run in their last 13 games. Tampa Bay is also coming in refreshed with a nine-day layoff. Nikita Kucherov leads the team in all offensive categories like goals (22), assists (32) and points (54). Andrei Vasilevskiy is 24-9-2 with a 2.54 goals-against-average and .917 save percentage.
The Lightning score 3.60 goals a game and allow 2.85 a contest. Tampa’s power play scores 27.5 percent on the power play and their PK is rated at 83.1 percent.
The Dallas Stars have won three of their last five, including a 7-1 pasting of the Winnipeg Jets. Roope Hintz leads the way in goals with 15 while Tyler Seguin is tops in assists and points. Both Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin have a goals-against-average of 2.30 or lower and a .927 save percentage.
Dallas nets 2.56 goals a game and yields 2.46 a game. The Stars convert 19.7 percent on the power play and kill 82.4 percent of penalties.
This will be a contrast of styles, but the Lightning’s speed should carry them to a win.
Prediction: Lightning win 3-2.
St. Louis Blues vs Vancouver Canucks
Head-to-Head: Blues 1-1 Canucks
Both the St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks are in first place in their respective divisions. The road team has taken the first two games this season. St. Louis has lost two in a row before going into the All-Star break. David Perron leads in goals (21) and points (49) and Jordan Binnington is putting up some big numbers in goal with a 22-8-5 mark, 2.58 goals-against-average and .912 save percentage.
The Blues score 3.22 goals a game and allow 2.67 a game. St. Louis scores on 25.3 percent of power plays and stop 81.7 percent of penalties.
Vancouver has won four of its last five games and is led by Elias Pettersson in goals (21), assists (30) and points (50). Jacob Markstrom is playing well in a contract year with an 18-13-3 record, 2.71 goals-against-average and .916 save percentage.
The Canucks net 3.24 goals a game and give up 3.02 a game. Vancouver’s power play converts 23.8 percent of the time and kill off 80.6 percent of opposing power plays.
This could be a possible playoff matchup. St. Louis would love a win here to start the second half.
Prediction: Blues win 4-3 in overtime.
Anaheim Ducks vs San Jose Sharks
Head-to-Head: Ducks 1-1 Sharks
It’s another rematch between the Pacific Division rivals as the Anaheim Ducks look to add their third straight win. Jakob Silfverberg leads in goals with 15 and Ryan Getzlaf leads in points with 33. John Gibson takes most of the starts and is 14-19-3.
Anaheim’s power play scores 15.0 percent of the time and their PK is 77.8 percent successful. The Ducks score 2.46 goals a game and give up 3.10 a game.
The San Jose Sharks have lost three straight games heading into the break. Evander Kane leads in goals with 19 and Erik Karlsson is tops in assists with 31. Leading point-man Logan Couture is out of the lineup long-term. Aaron Dell has been getting many of the starts since Bob Boughner took over as head coach.
San Jose gets 2.56 a game and give up 3.32 a game. The Sharks score 16.7 percent of power plays and kill 87.7 percent of penalties.
The Sharks will miss Couture and that should be the difference as Dallas Eakins has the Ducks playing better.
Prediction: Ducks win 4-2.
WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 15: Canadiens left wing Jonathan Drouin (92) stickhandles in front of the net while Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie (77) tries to poke check during the Montreal Canadiens vs. Washington Capitals game November 15, 2019 at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)