Welcome back to NHL Predictions, where the Last Word on Hockey team provides insight into all of today’s games. On Monday, March 9th’s edition of NHL Predictions, we’ll take a look at fifth games. Today’s featured game is a battle between the Vegas Golden Knights and the Edmonton Oilers.
Washington Capitals vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Capitals 1-0 Sabres
The Washington Capitals rebounded from a two-game losing streak with a key 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night. Alex Ovechkin is tied for the league lead in goals with David Pastrnak. John Carlson is having a Norris Trophy-esque season with 60 assists and 75 points. Ilya Samsonov and Braden Holtby have split time in net recently.
Washington scores 3.44 goals a game and it allows 3.09 goals per game. The Capitals power play is 19.5 percent successful and they kill 82.8 percent of opposing power plays.
The Buffalo Sabres are having another one of their patent losing streaks. Buffalo has lost six straight games, including a 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night. Jack Eichel is doing his best to carry the team with 35 goals, 42 assists and 77 points. Carter Hutton has been getting a lot of the starts since Linus Ullmark went on injured reserve.
Buffalo scores 2.81 goals a game and yields 3.13 per contest. The Sabres score 18.7 percent of the time on the power play and stop 74.5 percent of opposing penalties.
Washington is a race for the Metropolitan Division title with Philadelphia. Expect the Caps to keep healthy against a Sabres team that’s in real trouble.
Prediction: Capitals win 5-2.
Florida Panthers vs St. Louis Blues
Head-to-Head: Panthers 0-0 Blues
It’ll be the first meeting of the season between the St. Louis Blues and Florida Panthers, who are coming off a big 4-1 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. Chris Driedger has returned and gave the Panthers a boost in net. Mike Hoffman leads the team in goals with 28.
Florida scores 3.32 goals per game and surrenders 3.28. The Panthers score 21.0 percent of the time on the PP and kill 78.3 percent of penalties.
St. Louis got a 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night thanks to 29 saves from Jake Allen. The Blues have won five of their last six games as they look to stay atop the Central Division. David Perron leads in goals (25) and points (60) for the Blues. Jordan Binnington will likely get the start with Allen getting the first part of the back-to-back.
The Blues score 3.18 goals a game and give up 2.74 a game. St. Louis is 24.5 percent successful on the power play at 79.2 percent successful on the PK.
Binnington would love to get the taste of Saturday’s loss to the New Jersey Devils out of his mouth. Expect the Blues to keep up the pace in this one.
Prediction: Blues win 3-1.
Arizona Coyotes vs Winnipeg Jets
Head-to-Head: Coyotes 1-0 Jets
It’s a battle of teams that have both been the Winnipeg Jets. The Arizona Coyotes are coming off a pivotal 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Friday. Arizona and Winnipeg are in the fight for the second Wild Card spot. Connor Garland leads in goals, but he’ll be out due to an injury. Clayton Keller leads the team in points with 44.
Arizona scores 2.72 goals a game and allows 2.59 per game. The Coyotes score 19.3 percent of the time on the power play and have a PK success rate of 82.6 percent.
Winnipeg got a 4-0 shutout over Vegas thanks to 29 saves for Connor Hellebuyck. The Jets have won three of their last four games thanks to the sixth shutout of the season by the former UMass-Lowell goalie. Kyle Connor is tops on the team in goals (36) and points (71).
The Jets score 2.97 goals per game and yield 2.86 per game. Winnipeg’s power play converts 20.7 percent of the time and they kill 77.2 percent of opponent’s power plays.
Winnipeg’s defence has played well and Arizona will miss Garland. The Jets should scratch out another win.
Prediction: Jets win 3-2 in a shootout.
Vegas Golden Knights vs Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Golden Knights 1-1 Oilers
Vegas is trying to hang onto first place after a loss to Winnipeg on Friday. The Knights had won three of their last four prior to that. It looks like head coach Peter DeBoer is relying more on Robin Lehner in recent weeks since the trade. Max Pacioretty leads the team in goals (31) and points (65).
The Knights score 3.13 goals per game and allow 2.96 goals a game. Vegas converts 21.3 percent of power plays and stop 77.0 percent of opponent’s power plays.
Edmonton has won four of its last five, including a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Mikko Koskinen stopped 45 shots in the victory to spell Mike Smith, who’s taken over in recent weeks. Leon Draisaitl is trying to stake his claim to the Hart Trophy with 43 goals and 110 points.
The Oilers score 3.17 goals a game and surrender 3.01 a game. Edmonton has a deadly power play at 29.6 percent and they kill 84.8 percent of penalties.
The first goal will tell the story of this one as will special teams. Vegas needs to stay out of the penalty box if it wants to win.
Prediction: Oilers win 4-3.
Colorado Avalanche vs Los Angeles Kings
Head-to-Head: Avalanche 1-1 Kings
The Colorado Avalanche are losers of two straight games, including a 6-3 defeat to the Vancouver Canucks on Friday. Colorado is led by Nathan MacKinnon in goals (34), assists (56) and points (90). Pavel Francouz and Michael Hutchinson have gotten the starts since Philipp Grubauer was injured.
The Avalanche score 3.40 goals a game and give up 2.72 per game. Colorado converts 18.6 percent of the time on the PP and they kill 81.5 percent of penalties.
The Los Angeles Kings are playing some of their best hockey of the season as they got a 7-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. It was the fifth consecutive win for the Kings thanks to a hat trick by Dustin Brown. Anze Kopitar leads the team in all major offensive categories.
Los Angeles scores 2.51 goals a game and allows 3.01 per game. The Kings are 17.1 percent successful on the power play and their PK is 77.0 percent successful.
Colorado needs a win to keep pace in the division, but Los Angeles will make it tough.
Prediction: Avalanche win 4-3 in overtime.