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 late-games edition of the February 20th NHL Predictions, we’ll cover four games. There will also be a featured game and that is must-watch hockey. The featured matchup is a possible Stanley Cup preview between the Tampa Bay Lightning vs Vegas Golden Knights.
Winnipeg Jets vs Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Jets 1-0 Senators
The Winnipeg Jets are coming off a 6-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. Blake Wheeler posted a pair of goals and Connor Hellebuyck made 31 saves. Kyle Connor is tops in goals (29) and points (61) while Hellebuyck has a 26-18-5 record with a 2.71 goals-against-average and .919 save percentage.
Winnipeg also just picked up Dylan DeMelo in a trade with the Ottawa Senators earlier in the week. The Jets score 2.98 goals a game and allow 3.00 per game. Their power play scores 19.3 percent of the time and they kill 75.7 percent of penalties.
Ottawa is coming off a wild 7-4 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night when Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Artem Anisimov each scored twice. Pageau leads the team in goals (24) and points (40) and Craig Anderson has taken over in net for the injured Anders Nilsson.
The Senators score 2.72 goals a game and give up 3.32 goals per contest. Ottawa’s power play is 15.5 percent successful and they stop 78.6 percent of opposing power plays.
The Jets have won two straight and are still hanging around the playoff positions. Ottawa has put up some great efforts, but Winnipeg needs wins.
Prediction: Jets win 5-2.
Arizona Coyotes vs St. Louis Blues
Head-to-Head: Coyotes 2-0 Blues
The Arizona Coyotes have won both of their games against the defending champion St. Louis Blues this season. Arizona beat lost to the Dallas Stars 3-2 on Wednesday and Adin Hill got the start. That means Antti Raanta will be in net for the Coyotes.
Arizona scores 2.69 goals and allow 2.63 goals per game prior to Wednesday’s game. Arizona scores 19.2 percent of the time on the power play and it kills off 83.7 percent of opponent’s power plays.
St. Louis blanked the New Jersey Devils, 3-0, on Tuesday night after a pair of goals by Ivan Barbashev. Jordan Binnington only needed to make 17 saves to record the shutout. David Perron leads the Blues in goals (23) and points (56) while Jake Allen may make get the call as they will be playing back-to-back games.
The Blues score 3.15 goals a game and allow 2.82 per matchup. St. Louis scores on 24.3 percent of their power plays while they kill 79.4 percent of penalties.
Allen has played well as a backup and the Blues would love to get first back in the Central Division. St. Louis picks up a key win going into Friday’s showdown with Dallas.
Prediction: Blues win 4-2.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Vegas Golden Knights
Head-to-Head: Lightning 1-0 Golden Knights
Tampa Bay is on an 11-game winning streak and have looked fantastic in their recent run. The Lightning got a big 4-3 overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. Nikita Kucherov got the overtime-winner for Tampa and leads the team in all offensive categories. Andrei Vasilevskiy has been stellar in the team’s recent streak.
The Lightning score 3.55 goals a game and yield 2.65 per game. Tampa’s power play scores 23.2 of the time on the power play while they stop 83.3 percent of penalties.
Vegas is coming off of three straight wins, including a 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals in a rematch of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. Max Pacioretty scored his team-leading 27th goal in the win and Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 25 shots. Fleury is now 23-14-5 with a 2.78 goals-against average.
The Golden Knights score 3.10 goals a game and give up 3.00 a game. Vegas is 21.5 percent successful on the power play and they stop 78.2 percent of opponent’s power plays.
This is going to be a heavyweight fight, which is something the people of Sin City are used to. Tampa will scratch out a win to keep the streak alive.
Prediction: Lightning win 4-3 in overtime.
Florida Panthers vs Los Angeles Kings
Head-to-Head: Panthers 1-0 Kings
The Florida Panthers are hoping to wrap up their California adventure with a victory. Florida is looking to get into the last automatic playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. Samuel Montembeault will likely get the start after Sergei Bobrovsky started versus the Anaheim Ducks. Evgenii Dadonov came into Wednesday’s game leading the club with 24 goals.
Florida scores 3.44 goals a game and surrenders 3.26 goals a game. The Panthers have a 21.5 percent success rate on the extra man and have a 77.4 percent kill rate on the PK.
Los Angeles has been trading off people like Tyler Toffoli and Alec Martinez in recent days. The Kings are rooted to the foot of the Pacific Division with no way out of the cellar. Anze Kopitar is the leading remaining goal scorer with 17 as Toffoli had 18. Jonathan Quick is 12-22-3 with a 2.99 goals-against-average and .897 save percentage.
The Kings struggle to score as they get 2.47 a game and they allow 3.18 a game. Los Angeles struggles on special teams with a 16.3 percent on the PP and 75.9 percent on the PK.
Florida has been putting it together and should finish their California trip with another win.
Prediction: Panthers win 4-1.