Welcome back to the Last Word on Hockey team’s ongoing NHL Predictions series. Every day, our site publishes an article (or two) detailing every matchup on the night’s slate, while also offering our prediction for the game’s outcome. We also suggest a ‘featured’ game that should be must-watch hockey that night. Tonight, it’s a powerhouse tilt between the league-leading Boston Bruins and red-hot Philadelphia Flyers. Make sure to check out our predictions for the later games tonight, too.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Head-to-Head: Lightning 1 – 1 Maple Leafs
While they haven’t been as dominant as last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning are still a tough out for most teams, considering they have a 43-20-6 record and 92 points for second place in the Atlantic Division. Their last game, however, was an embarrassing 5-4 shootout loss to the historically bad Detroit Red Wings. Tampa Bay has no problem putting the puck in the net, but a few of their minor defensive deficiencies showed Sunday against Detroit. Tampa’s actually on a little bit of a slide, having only won three of their past nine games after a lengthy win streak. Last year’s Art Ross trophy winner, Nikita Kucherov, continues to be the best player on one of the league’s best teams, leading Tampa with 33 goals, 51 assists, 84 points, and 205 shots.
The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to be hockey’s biggest enigma, placing third in the Atlantic Division behind Tampa with a 35-25-9 record and 79 points. Their last game was a tough-to-swallow 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks which capped off a winless California road trip. There are few teams more skilled offensively than the loaded Leafs, but poorer goaltending and injuries on defence have them sitting as one of the league’s worst defensive squads. Toronto’s on a three-game slide after a three-game win streak. 22-year-old Auston Matthews‘ impressive season continues, as he’s potted 46 goals, 33 assists, and 79 points in just 69 games played.
Both Toronto and Tampa are struggling teams right now, but Toronto’s desperation to hold onto a playoff spot, along with home-ice advantage, will get them a hard-fought victory tonight.
Prediction: Toronto wins 1-0 in overtime.
Nashville Predators vs. Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Predators 0 – 0 Canadiens
The 2019-20 edition of the Nashville Predators has largely underwhelmed, but they’re still in the playoff race with a 34-26-8 record and 76 points which puts them in fifth place in the Central Division. Their last effort was a gutsy 1-0 win over the division rival Dallas Stars, an important two points. Nashville has been largely mediocre at both ends of the ice and hasn’t excelled in any area of the game this season. They’ve won two out of their past five games as they struggle to keep pace in the Western Conference. Captain Roman Josi continues to be their all-important anchor, tallying 16 goals, 47 points, and 63 points while logging over 25 minutes of ice time per night.
The Montreal Canadiens are in a similar predicament to Nashville, except they’re all but out of the playoff picture with only 71 points and a 31-30-9 record which puts them fifth in the Atlantic Division. Their last game, a 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers, was a must-win opportunity that they failed to capitalize on. Their frustrating season is focused on the latest edition of our Last Word on Habs podcast. Montreal can do well enough offensively, but their defensive structure struggles have cost them their season. They’ve dropped four out of their past six games. None of this is the fault of goaltender Carey Price, who’s done his best with a 27-win season so far while posting a .909 save percentage.
Nashville’s offence has taken a dip lately, and Montreal is playing with house money after losing a crucial game. Expect the Habs to play spoiler to Nashville’s playoff hopes tonight.
Prediction: Montreal wins 4-0.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New Jersey Devils
Head-to-Head: Penguins 1 – 1 Devils
The Pittsburgh Penguins are starting to show concerning habits, but still place third in the Metropolitan Division with a 39-23-6 record and 84 points. Their last game was a 6-2 thumping at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes at home, not a good look for the team. The Penguins have made a splash into the college free-agent market, though, reportedly landing the highly-touted Dartmouth forward Drew O’Connor. Pittsburgh’s been a rather average team offensively, unusual for them, but they’ve stayed afloat due to their solid defensive play. The Pens have dropped three of their past five decisions. The 33-year-old Evgeni Malkin continues to be one of the league’s top players, potting 23 goals, 48 assists, and 71 points in only 54 games, stellar numbers for the Russian forward.
The New Jersey Devils have mosied along to a 28-28-12 record and 68 points, putting them squarely in the last place in the Metropolitan Division. However, they were able to trounce the New York Rangers 6-4 in their last outing. The Devils have struggled to put anything together at either end of the ice this season. They remain one of the league’s worst squads. However, they’ve been able to win three of their past five games. Young goalie MacKenzie Blackwood has managed to be a bright spot, though, garnering 22 wins while posting a .915 save percentage.
New Jersey should play spoiler against a sliding Pittsburgh team at home tonight.
Prediction: New Jersey wins 3-2 in overtime.
Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Head-to-Head: Bruins 0 – 2 Flyers
This is the NHL Predictions featured early game of the night
The Bruins continue to be the team to beat in NHL Predictions. They have posted a 43-14-12 record and 98 points for first place in the Atlantic Division. However, they dropped their last game, a rough 5-3 loss to the Lightning. Boston is a good offensive squad but excels in terms of defensive structure and goaltending. They’re one of the more complete teams in the league. Boston’s won four of their past five. A breakout season from winger David Pastrnak continues to be an important element for the team, as his 48 goals, 46 assists, and 94 points in total have all been great for Boston.
How the tables have turned for a squad like the Flyers, who now look like legitimate contenders. They sit in first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 41-20-7 record and 89 points. Although they got outplayed, they were able to squeeze out a win in their last game against the Buffalo Sabres, 3-1. Philadelphia has grown into one of the league’s best offensive teams while maintaining the defensive structure and receiving good goaltending. They’re a scary squad come playoff time. They’ve won nine straight outings and can make it 10 tonight. Ivan Provorov‘s rebound season has been crucial for the team, as he’s posted 13 goals, 23 assists, and 36 points in 68 games while logging over 24 minutes of ice time a game.
Expect a powerful Philadelphia team to continue their win streak tonight at home as they prep for the playoffs.
Prediction: Philadelphia wins 4-2.
That does it for NHL Predictions for the early games for March 10th.
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