Welcome back to NHL Predictions. Every day Last Word on Hockey brings you a prediction and analysis of every game on the schedule. In the February 17th edition of NHL Predictions, we’ll cover five games. Today’s featured game is a battle between the Tampa Bay Lightning vs Colorado Avalanche.
New York Islanders vs Arizona Coyotes
Head-to-Head: Islanders 1-0 Coyotes
The New York Islanders are hurting for goals right now as they’ve been shut out two games in a row. New York was blanked by the Vegas Golden Knights, 1-0, on Saturday night. Brock Nelson currently leads the team in goals and Mathew Barzal is tops in points with 48. Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss have split time in net, but need offensive support.
New York scores 2.86 goals a game and only allowing 2.72 per game. The Isles power play scores 18.6 percent of the time and they kill 80.1 percent of penalties. Defensively the Islanders got a little better as they acquired veteran defenceman Andy Greene from the New Jersey Devils on Sunday. But the team need still needs that scorer upfront.
The Arizona Coyotes are two points off of an automatic Pacific Division playoff spot after beating the Washington Capitals, 3-1, on Saturday night. Antti Raanta made 35 saves and he looks to be the number one as long as Darcy Kuemper is out. Conor Garland leads the team in goals with 19.
Arizona scores 2.70 goals a game and yields 2.66 goals a game. The Coyotes score 19.4 percent on the extra man and they stop 83.4 percent of opposing power plays.
The Islanders desperately need to find some goals in a hurry. As the Isles cling to a playoff spot in the East and the Coyotes fight for a playoff spot in the West, both the teams are in desperate need of a win. The Isles won 4-2 in Long Island earlier this season and can take some of that to win against Arizona.
Prediction: Islanders win 3-1.
Florida Panthers vs San Jose Sharks
Head-to-Head: Panthers 1-0 Sharks
The Florida Panthers are in danger of falling out of the Eastern Conference playoff race in losses of four of their last five. Florida lost 4-1 to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Jonathan Huberdeau leads the team in points with 70, but they need Sergei Bobrovsky and the defence to find their game.
Florida scores 3.41 goals a game and surrenders 3.36 goals a game. The Panthers score on 22.0 percent of power plays and struggle with killing penalties at 77.5 percent.
The San Jose Sharks have managed to win four of their last five despite a load of injuries. Martin Jones stopped 39 shots in a 2-0 win over the Minnesota Wild while Dylan Gambrell and Melker Karlsson each added goals. Leading goal-scorer Evander Kane is suspended and leading point-getter Erik Karlsson is out for the season.
San Jose nets 2.59 goals a game and gives up 3.24 goals a game. The Sharks score 16.1 percent of the time on the power play and they kill 85.6 percent of opposing power plays.
San Jose has played well, but injuries and suspension are running up against a desperate Florida squad that needs a win.
Prediction: Panthers win 4-2
Anaheim Ducks vs Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Ducks 0-2 Flames
The Anaheim Ducks are coming off a 6-0 loss to the Calgary Flames on Thursday night and have lost three of their last five. Adam Henrique leads the club in goals with 18 and John Gibson gets most of the starts with a 16-22-4 record, 3.04 goals-against-average and .902 save percentage.
Anaheim scores 2.47 goals a game and yields 3.12 goals a game. The Ducks score 14.0 percent on the power play and have a success rate of 77.6 percent on the Pk.
Calgary is coming off its own drubbing with an 8-4 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night. The Flames are tied on 66 points with the Coyotes, but own fourth due to the number of wins. Elias Lindholm is the leading goal-scorer with 27 and David Rittich is 22-15-5 with a 2.93 goals-against-average and .908 save percentage.
The Flames score 2.80 goals a game and give up 3.08 a game. Calgary’s power-play scores 20.8 percent of the time and are 81.9 percent successful on the penalty kill.
The Flames are trying to stay in the tight Pacific Division and have been tough against the Ducks. Look for that trend to continue.
Prediction: Flames win 4-1.
Washington Capitals vs Vegas Golden Knights
Head-to-Head: Capitals 1-0 Golden Knights
The Washington Capitals have lost three of its last five and is only one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Metropolitan Division. Alex Ovechkin is still two goals away from reaching the 700-goal mark and has 40 so far this season. Braden Holtby made 29 saves in the loss to Arizona on Saturday.
Washington’s offence scores 3.50 goals a game and their defence allows 3.02 a game. The Capitals power play scores 20.5 percent of the time and they kill 83.7 percent of penalties.
Vegas got 19 saves out of Marc-Andre Fleury in their victory over the Islanders. Max Pacioretty leads the team in goals with 26 and Fleury is 22-14-5 with a 2.80 goals-against-average and .905 save percentage. The Golden Knights hold the last automatic playoff spot in the Pacific Division.
Vegas scores 3.10 goals a game and allows 3.02 goals a game. The Golden Knights are 21.8 successful on the power play and they stop 78.4 percent of opponent’s power plays.
The Knights haven’t been the dominant home team of old and the Capitals need wins to keep the Penguins at bay.
Prediction: Capitals win 3-2 in overtime.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Colorado Avalanche
Head-to-Head: Lightning 0-1 Avalanche
*This the NHL Prediction Featured Game Of The Night
The Tampa Bay Lightning are seeking its 11th straight win after beating the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-3, on Saturday. Leading goal and point-getter Nikita Kucherov has been out the last two games and Steven Stamkos returned from his injury on Saturday. Andrei Vasilevskiy has been excellent as of late with a 32-9-3 record and 2.42 goals-against-average.
The Lightning has one of the best offences in the league with 3.54 goals a game and they allow 2.64 a game. Tampa also picked up Blake Coleman from the New Jersey Devils on Sunday for a first-round pick and prospect Nolan Foote.
Colorado is coming off an embarrassing 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings in a Stadium Series game at the United States Air Force Academy. Philipp Grubauer and Matt Calvert were both injured, so Pavel Francouz may get the start. Nathan MacKinnon leads the team in goals (32), assists (48) and points (80).
The Avalanche have a great offence with 3.56 goals a game and they give up 2.79 a game. Colorado’s power play is 19.3 percent successful while they kill 78.9 percent of penalties.
Colorado could come out fired up, but Tampa Bay is playing like they did last regular season. It should be a fun game, but the Lightning should continue their winning ways.
Predictions: Lightning win 5-3.
That does it for NHL Predictions for Monday, February 17th. Keep your eyes open for more NHL Predictions on Tuesday.