Welcome to NHL Predictions! Each day, Last Word On Hockey will break down every game and give our NHL predictions for each game. In today’s early-game NHL predictions, we’ll cover the five games happening on March 7th. Each piece will include a featured game that should be must-watch hockey. The featured game for this article is the matchup between the Washington Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins.
Carolina Hurricanes vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 2 – 0 Islanders
This is a huge matchup for the playoff picture. Both of these teams have struggled lately and now find themselves in the fight for their lives for a wild card spot. The Carolina Hurricanes have been dearly missing James Reimer and Petr Mrazek. They are winless since the David Ayres game, losing four in a row. They desperately need to dig down and find something to start winning here. Any more losses in a row and their season could be over. They are in a fight with three other teams now and need points every night.
The New York Islanders have been equally as down on their luck. Since going in on some moves at the NHL Trade Deadline, the Islanders have lost five games in a row. They too have slipped in the playoff race and there are now many more players in the picture. The Islanders need to take advantage of Carolina’s rough goaltending situation. They have lost to Carolina twice already this season, in what is basically a four-point game they can not afford to drop again.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 4-3 in Overtime.
Washington Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Head-to-Head: Capitals 1 – 1 Penguins
It feels like almost the whole Metro division is in free fall right now. This could be a first-round matchup as the Philadelphia Flyers have been on fire lately. Luckily for these teams, someone has to get points today. This should be a highly contested match. The Washington Capitals are 4-7-2 in their last 13 games played. That is not a good record to have as playoffs are approaching. This team needs to find its way back into the win column consistently. Braden Holtby hasn’t been good this year, Ilya Samsonov has been better but not elite. This Caps team needs to get all four lines playing well if they want a chance.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have won two in a row but dropped six before that. However, now they look to stay on the right track. They have looked more like themselves lately. Their slump was highlighted by an inability to put the puck in the net. Which is weird because given the defensive issues one may have guessed that would have been the reason. Tristan Jarry has been lights out this year and it will be interesting to see how the Pens balance him and Matt Murray as the playoffs approach. One thing is for sure, today is a huge game for the standings and that is why it is the NHL Predictions game of the night.
Nashville Predators vs Dallas Stars
Head-to-Head: Predators 1- 2 Stars
The Nashville Predators have had a long and disappointing season. Yet, they still find themselves right around the playoff bubble. They are only one point back of a wild card spot and considering this has been a disaster year so far, that isn’t too bad. These two teams played Thursday night and Nashville won 2-0. This is the fourth and final meeting between them and Nashville will no doubt want to take two more points. Look for them to be motivated right out of the gate tonight.
The Dallas Stars are fighting for home ice come playoff time. However, they’ve really been on a slide as of late. The Stars have dropped four straight games and find themselves pretty far back of the top two teams now. Making up ground to try and get out of the three spot is the focus. The savvy defensive team will need to play just like that. They don’t score too many goals, however, they are one of the best defensive teams and Ben Bishop is outstanding. Look for them to play a slow tempo game tonight.
Prediction: Stars win 3-2.
Minnesota Wild vs Los Angeles Kings
Head-to-Head: Wild 1 – 1 Kings
The Minnesota Wild have fought their way back into the playoff picture despite firing their head coach and being sellers at the deadline. Quite the impressive feat, they have a chance to keep that going today. Minnesota has won seven of their last 10 games and is red hot. This is an afternoon game for both teams so it will be interesting to see how the time affects them. Much like Dallas, Minnesota is known for its smart defensive play which leads to offence. Using that will be the key today.
The Los Angeles Kings are out of the playoff picture but playing with a lot more fire lately. They are 7-2-1 in their last 10 and really taking teams by surprise. Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty aren’t having the best years but they have started to find their game recently. Jonathan Quick has put up a few big performances lately too. You can’t sleep on this LA team or it will cost you points. They are hungry to prove they can play better than they have most of the year.
Prediction: Wild win 3-1.
San Jose Sharks vs Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Sharks 0 – 1 Senators
The San Jose Sharks have had a rough year this season. That is absolutely no secret. However, they are 4-6-0 in their last 10 so at least they are now putting up close to .500 numbers. This season can’t come to an end fast enough for San Jose fans. Now, they have a chance to at least take some points from the team that has their first-round draft pick. Evander Kane has been solid lately, look for him to spark the San Jose offence.
This game is a win-win for the Ottawa Senators. Whichever team loses they will get better odds in the draft lottery so there is no downside. Ottawa played a thrilling game against the New York Islanders Thursday and look to carry forward that momentum. Brady Tkachuk has his second 20-goal season in his young career and continues to be a focal point of this team.
Prediction: Sharks win 5-4.
That’s all for NHL Predictions! Tune in tomorrow for more!