Welcome back to NHL Predictions! Each day, the Last Word on Hockey team will break down every game and give our NHL predictions for each game. This will also include a featured game that should be must-watch hockey. Tonight’s featured game is the Carolina Hurricanes vs. Pittsburgh Penguins. That does it for the early game slate of NHL Predictions. Be sure and check out the late games of NHL Predictions too.
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 0 – 0 Penguins
This is the NHL Predictions featured early game of the night
We kick things off with our featured game of the night and boy this is a big contest. With the race in the Metropolitan Division very tight, who knew this game would be important to both the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins. These two teams clash four times this month and these games could go along way to determining who makes the playoffs. With games and points at a premium, one team is trying to get into the playoff picture, while the other team is trying to hang out. The Hurricanes won their first game since losing both Petr Mrazek and James Reimer. While was in controversial fashion, they never ask how. They always ask how many. The Hurricanes are two points out of the final wild-card spot and they have three games in hand on the Columbus Blue Jackets. There are so many question marks surrounding the Hurricanes and their defence. However, if they can survive until at least one of their goalies come back, they have a decent shot of making the playoffs.
Who would have thought the Penguins would be in this position about a month ago. Pittsburgh was riding high, playing well, and locked into a playoff position. Now there is some doubt creeping in. With two wins in their last eight games, the Penguins are starting to questioning their game. You would have thought that once the Penguins got healthy, the Penguins would roll up the standings. But it has been completely the opposite. Sometimes a team plays better when they are dealing with adversity and not having guys in the lineup. You can see the Penguins are doing the little things that made them successful. Not to mention the goaltending has been subpar as of late. With both teams playing back to back days this any team game.
Prediction: Penguins Win 3-2
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings
Head-to-Head: Lightning 1 – 0 Red Wings
This is the second of four meetings between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Detroit Red Wings. Tampa Bay will be playing back-to-back games and will be coming off an emotional game against the Boston Bruins. This could be a trap game for the Lightning. However, head coach Jon Cooper will not allow his team to have a let down against the Red Wings. Throughout their history against Detroit, the Lightning always play tight games. Having to travel will also factor in this game. How quickly can the Lightning establish their game and find their legs? While they are locked into the second seed right now, they want the top spot in the division.
While on paper the Red Wings should get dominated by the Lightning, Detroit has been playing well as of late. Even though they have one win to show, the Red Wings are a tough out unless you can get to them early. Despite the Red Wings sitting at the bottom of the standings, Jonathan Bernier still has solid numbers this season. The Red Wings will not outscore the Lightning, but if their goaltending is better there is a chance they can steal the game. But even with the Lightning playing back-to-back, they just have too many weapons for the Red Wings to handle.
Prediction: Lightning Win 2-1
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Golden Knights 2 – 0 Flames
This Pacific Division battle between the Vegas Golden Knights and Calgary Flames had the chance to be the featured game of the night as well. With this division so tight, points will be at a premium for both teams. The Golden Knights have taken the first two games of this season series back that was back early on in the season. Over the last 10 games, the Golden Knights are 8-2. They are clicking on all cylinders despite not having Mark Stone in the lineup. Max Pacioretty has picked up the slack since the Stone injury. Not to mention how well the defence has been playing since the acquisition of Alec Martinez. Having a guy like Robin Lehner to back up Marc-Andre Fleury, gives Vegas the best goalie tandem in the league.
The Flames find themselves in third place in the Pacific Division. But teams are chasing them like the Vancouver Canucks and Arizona Coyotes. The Flames need to get something going against Vegas as they have been outscored 12-2 in the first two meetings. Calgary has wins in three straight games, which has allowed them to maintain their position in the Pacific. If the Flames are going to make the playoffs, they will have to do so on the back of Matthew Tkachuk. With 60 points in 68 games, Tkachuk has been the most consistent player for the Flames this season. The Flames will need a team effort if they want to beat a good Vegas team.
Prediction: Golden Knights Win 4-1
That does it for NHL Predictions for the early games for March 8th.
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