Here are today’s gameday NHL Predictions. Daily, Last Word on Hockey brings you a prediction and analysis of every game on the schedule. This will also feature a significant game on the schedule that is must-watch hockey. Today’s featured game is the St. Louis Blues vs Dallas Stars.
New York Rangers vs Carolina Hurricanes
Head-to-Head: Rangers 3-0 Hurricanes
The New York Rangers recently acquired AHL goaltender Jean-Francois Berube. This is a sign that rumored trade-bait, Alexandar Georgiev could be on the move in the coming days. As we get closer and closer to the trade deadline, Georgiev’s price tag is sure to be discussed with many teams. On a positive note, the Rangers are coming off of a win over the Chicago Blackhawks and are hoping to build momentum and sweep the season series with a major upset over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Carolina is hoping for another Cinderella story style run like they had last year. A wild card team that many people counted out before the first puck dropped that somehow managed to scrape their way into the Eastern Conference Finals. They sit in a wild card spot right now and are fighting with every breath to keep the competition behind them. This team could wind up being a dark horse candidate to win the Stanley Cup.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 4-2
Detroit Red Wings vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Red Wings 0-2 Islanders
The Detroit Red Wings’ season is basically over. They have nowhere to go in the standings, nothing of value they would be willing to trade, and no quick way out of the hole they have found themselves in. A plethora of bad contracts have weighed down any ability to compete at the highest level and this team is in desperate need of a rebuild. The Islanders should shut them down tonight.
Barry Trotz’s New York Islanders somehow managed to score eight goals against the Red Wings the last time these two met. That is highly impressive for a team that is known for shutting down the opposition’s scorers. If they can continue to play their game tonight, the Red Wings don’t stand a chance. Defence wins championships and Barry Trotz is hoping to do just that by beating everyone in New York’s path.
Prediction: Islanders win 3-0
Nashville Predators vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Predators 2-1 Blackhawks
The Nashville Predators are on a bit of a roll with a 6-4-0 record over their last 10 games and they are hoping to put another streak together after having lost their last game. Nashville is hungry for a Stanley Cup title and they need to do it now before their window of opportunity closes on them. But they need to make the playoffs first and right now, they are on the outside looking in. They need to battle hard over the next two months in order to qualify.
Goaltending has been a strength of the Chicago Blackhawks this year and Robin Lehner has played a large role in that. He has split the playing time fairly even with Corey Crawford and they both have respectable save percentages. The goals-against average is a little ugly but that tends to happen when the supporting cast is underwhelming. They need their goaltender to stand on his head and make every save if they want to beat the Predators.
Prediction: Predators win 5-2
St. Louis Blues vs Dallas Stars
Head-to-Head: Blues 2-1 Stars
* This is the NHL Predictions featured game
The St. Louis Blues have officially placed defenceman Jay Bouwmeester on long-term injured reserve. This allows the Blues to pursue other options on defence to preserve their chance at another cup run by ensuring his salary will not count against the salary cap. With Bouwmeester’s future still unclear, the Blues traded for Marco Scandella. Although Scandella has not been regarded as a top-four defenceman in many people’s eyes throughout his career, he is having a career year and could provide short-term benefits for St. Louis.
The Dallas Stars are in a difficult situation. They are fighting hard for the top playoff seed in the Western Conference. The problem is that they have to pass the St. Louis Blues to get there. Those two teams are both near the top of the standings in the NHL and appear in NHL predictions frequently. Thankfully, Dallas is on a hot streak with a 7-1-2 record in their last 10. The Blues have struggled with a 3-5-2 record over the same stretch. If they want to get to the top, they must win this game.
Prediction: Stars win 5-4
Boston Bruins vs Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Bruins 0-0 Flames
The Boston Bruins are in desperate need of every win they can get. They sit in first place in the NHL and are fighting hard to stave off a red hot Tampa Bay Lightning squad that is racing towards them. Even though Boston has an impressive 9-1-0 record in their last 10 games, Tampa Bay is even hotter with an 11 game win streak. If Boston wants to secure home ice throughout the entire playoffs, they need this win.
The Calgary Flames are in a similar situation as Boston, but more direr. If Calgary doesn’t get every win they can, they might not even make the playoffs. The Flames were a surprise team last season, the top seed in the Pacific Division. Although they were bounced in the first round last year, they are now a more experienced team with the potential to make some noise. The expectations will be lower as well since they might not win the division. But to get there, they need a win tonight.
Prediction: Bruins win 6-4
Minnesota Wild vs Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Wild 2-0 Oilers
Interim head coach Dean Evason got his first career win with the Minnesota Wild in their last game. If he wants to keep his job long-term, a win in Edmonton could go a long way in helping him secure that. The Wild have had a tough year and things do not look too good for the future. On the positive side, they are preemptively lining themselves up for a top draft pick in the summer which should lead to a high-end prospect if used correctly.
Losing Connor McDavid cannot be understated in its impact. Although the Edmonton Oilers are a very top-heavy team that lacks depth, they are capable enough to win games in his absence. They did just that, but they did not look the same. In an overtime loss against Boston, Edmonton was only able to score once. But McDavid is nearly back now, and although he is questionable still for tonight’s game, he should bolster this roster in the coming days.
Prediction: Oilers win 2-0
Colorado Avalanche vs Anaheim Ducks
Head-to-Head: Avalanche 0-1 Ducks
When discussing serious contenders for the Stanley Cup this season, the Colorado Avalanche have to be at the top of everyone’s list. They have been one of the best teams in the Western Conference and have done it with dominant offensive play from Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog, and Nathan MacKinnon. The only thing this team needs is to trade for a better backup goaltender (Alexandar Georgiev?) and even if they don’t get it, they could still be hoisting the Cup this summer.
The Anaheim Ducks situation is very similar to the Minnesota Wild’s. The only difference is that this coach is playing to keep his job rather than earn one. Dallas Eakins is wrapping up his first full season as the Ducks bench boss and it has not gone well. This team has not performed to the level it needs to in order to remain competitive. Although it may seem strange to fire your head coach after one season, it would not be out of the ordinary when you consider how many coaches have been fired this year.
Prediction: Avalanche win 4-2
That does it for today’s NHL Predictions. Be sure to check back tomorrow for another slate of games.