The NHL is finally back and the first couple of days have seen some great hockey. Now a few days in, we can expect to see teams start to find a groove as linemates develop chemistry with one another. Today’s slate of action features some of the best rivalries the league has to offer. Now without any further ado, let’s jump into our NHL Predictions.
Washington Capitals vs Buffalo Sabres
Head to Head: Capitals 1-0 Sabres
The Washington Capitals are now two full seasons removed from being Stanley Cup Champions. If they want to do it again, they need to start this season strong. They drew a favourable matchup in the first two games. T.J. Oshie played a strong game last night with three points, including a goal. If he can have a repeat performance, this team should get its second win against the Buffalo Sabres in as many games.
Buffalo went all in this offseason to bring in Taylor Hall. He is doing all he can to propel this team to the next level. Hall started his Sabres career off strong with a goal in his first game. He can’t do everything on his own, however. Buffalo needs to play stronger in their defensive zone. After giving up six goals in the first game, defence should be a priority for them going into tonight’s matchup.
Prediction: Capitals win 4-2
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Philadelphia Flyers
Head to Head: Penguins 0-1 Flyers
A big game in these NHL predictions, the Battle of Pennsylvania has already taken place once thus far. Early in the season, the Philadelphia Flyers came away winners and looked dominant in that victory. The Pittsburgh Penguins will be fighting hard to make sure they don’t fall down 0-2 in the season series. The talents of stars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will need to shine bright if they want to even the score with their cross-state rivals.
The Flyers did not just win the last game. They controlled the game against Pittsburgh. Many people saw the Flyers as major contenders where others had doubts. This team has not established itself as a consistent threat just yet. If they continue this trend, they will not be overlooked for much longer. The goal stopping ability of Carter Hart is incredible and he is a vital aspect of Philly’s ability to win games.
Prediction: Flyers win 5-3
Chicago Blackhawks vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head to Head: Blackhawks 0-1 Lightning
The Chicago Blackhawks did not look good in their first game of the season. A lot of that has to do with the injuries they have. Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach, and Alexander Nylander are all on injured reserve. Three injuries to top-nine forwards would kill any team’s ability to compete, much less if two of them belong in the top-six. With those three healthy, this team could be on the fringe of a playoff spot. But with these injuries, they won’t stand a chance against teams as skilled as the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Fresh off of a Stanley Cup win, the Lightning look as deadly as ever. They beat the Blackhawks 5-1 in their first matchup this year, and Chicago’s one goal was off of a few lucky bounces. This team looks every bit as good as they did during their postseason run. This win was as one-sided as it gets. Oh, and by the way, they did all of this without superstar winger and Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov.
Prediction: Lightning win 6-0
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Ottawa Senators
Head to Head: Maple Leafs 0-0 Senators
The last game that involved the Toronto Maple Leafs was a nail-biting overtime game. Going up against the rival Montreal Canadiens, the Leafs had their hands full. Thankfully for their faithful fans, star defenceman Morgan Rielly doesn’t miss. His goal secured the win. Toronto won’t want to continue this trend if they want to stay at the top of the standings. It may have been good enough to get a win over a mediocre team in Montreal but it may not be enough against a team of rising stars in the Ottawa Senators.
Ottawa is a team that is very much on the rise. After making the Eastern Conference Final, they immediately fell to the bottom of the league and traded off all major assets. Their rebuild is going well with the development of Brady Tkachuk and Thomas Chabot. Now they have added rookie Tim Stuetzle, this offence could take the next step forward. This team still needs more time to develop but the Leafs should have their hands full.
Prediction: Maple Leafs win 3-2
St. Louis Blues vs Colorado Avalanche
Head to Head: Blues 1-0 Avalanche
The second big rivalry in this set of NHL predictions, the St. Louis Blues came out swinging over a team that many view as a favourite to win the Stanley Cup. They changed the narrative in the Central Division in one game. This win was a convincing one. They looked hungry and out for blood in a game against a long time rivals. If St. Louis can use this win as momentum, they might be a boulder rolling downhill. No one will stop them.
The Colorado Avalanche were anything but impressive on opening night. We have been accustomed to seeing this team pile up goals upon goals. This time, they only managed to sneak one puck past Jordan Binnington. While the first loss is undoubtedly a fluke for this team, they cannot get off to a slow start. In a shortened season, each game has become more important. The Avs should bounce back and even things up in game two.
Prediction: Avalanche win 4-3
Be sure to check back tomorrow for another round of NHL Predictions!