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 late-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 Tampa Bay Lightning vs Boston Bruins.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Boston Bruins
Head-to-Head: Lightning 2 – 1 Bruins
*This is NHL Predictions featured game.
The Tampa Bay Lightning may trail the Atlantic Division-leading Bruins by nine points but have had two double-digit winning streaks of 10 and 11 games this season. They will be playing without the services of captain Steven Stamkos who is out with a long-term injury. Playing without Stamkos is a negative, but this team is loaded. They will just need to determine who can step up to fill in the gap of Stamkos who has 29 goals, 37 assists in 57 games. Not an easy task.
The Boston Bruins have got to be an absolute Cup favourite with their league-leading 98 points. With the league’s best defence and a pretty darn good offence, this team may be impossible to stop. That will be Tampa’s task at hand and good luck with that. The only sure way to beat the Bruins is if you take them to a shootout since they are 0-7 this year in the skill competition. The Bruins won’t need to worry about that fault since all playoff games must be played out till a winner emerges. I think we know who that will be.
Prediction: Bruins win 3-2.
Montreal Canadiens vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Canadiens 1 – 1 Panthers
The Montreal Canadiens are falling fast from the playoffs and have the most games played in the East. That’s not a good combination especially when you need seven points to make up in just 13 games. The Habs are without Tomas Tatar who is out with a long-term injury. His 22 goals, 61 points will only negate any chances they will make the playoffs. They’ve gone 4-4-2 in their last 10 games and that is not going to do it for them.
The Florida Panthers are not a shoo-in to make the playoffs with 74 points to their credit with just 15 remaining games to catch up. To their credit, three teams are not playing all that well above them, so they have a shot. Going just 3-5-2 in their last 10 games doesn’t help their cause, so they need to pick it up. They are attempting to get back to the postseason for the first time since the 2015-16 season. They have seven home tilts and eight road games left on their schedule. Will they make it?
Prediction: Panthers win 5-2.
New Jersey Devils vs New York Rangers
Head-to-Head: Devils 1 – 2 Rangers
Let’s face it, the New Jersey Devils will be loose since they only are playing the spoiler in an important game for their opponents. Their season has improved and they’ve gone a respectable 5-3-2 of late. They will attempt to improve upon this disappointing season next year after the moves they made at the trade deadline. It will still take some time to get there, but with additional draft picks and prospects, the future may be brighter for them.
The New York Rangers are surprising many onlookers as they are only two points from a wild-card spot. They are playing with a lot of confidence and when you have Artemi Panarin (93 points) and Mika Zibanejad (38 goals with five in one game) you are the talk of Broadway. They may just get to the playoffs with these two players providing 31 percent of the goals on the team. The Rangers have just six home games of the 15 games remaining, but it seems they are feeling it now… so watch out for them!
Prediction: Rangers win 6-3.
Buffalo Sabres vs Philadelphia Flyers
Head-to-Head: Sabres 0 – 1 Flyers
The Buffalo Sabres are at it again. They start out like gang-busters (16-11-6) and look like they will get to the playoffs… only to falter. Their luck lately isn’t any better. They went out on a four-game road trip and lost all four. They came home to face the Pittsburgh Penguins (see what I mean?) and lost again. SO, now they get to face the Flyers who are flat out the hottest team around and winners of eight straight? My suggestion is… don’t go to Vegas. Oh, you already did and lost the second game of your road trip. I warned you!
The Philadelphia Flyers have been phenomenal lately winning key hockey games and even passing their in-state rival Penguins in the standings. Much of their success could be directed towards young netminder Carter Hart. His 23-12-3 record with a .911 save percentage is only supplemented by his 2.47 goals-against-average. The Flyers seem to be for real and the poor Sabres will be the witness to that.
Prediction: Flyers win 5-1.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 0 – 1 Oilers
The Columbus Blue Jackets have 14 games remaining and are clinging to the top wild-card berth with four teams jockeying to pass them within one to four points away. The Jackets are without their rock star goalie Elvis Merzlikins who is injured. They had better improve upon their 2-4-4 record lately unless they want to drop out of playoff contention. They really have a weak offence with Pierre-Luc Dubois leading the team with just 48 points. The path the Jackets use to move forward is their great defence, ranked fifth in the NHL.
The Edmonton Oilers are blessed with an amazing duo of players who can score at will almost. Leon Draisaitl is on a path to score 133 points, while Connor McDavid isn’t far behind with a 116-point potential. Stopping them is easier said than done, but when a good offence meets a good defence, the battle will ensue. The Oilers have a very attractive schedule remaining with 10 of their 14 remaining games on home ice. They are presently just two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights who lead the Pacific Division.
Prediction: Oilers win 4-2.