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 is the early game slate of NHL Predictions. Be sure and check out the late games of NHL Predictions too.
Boston Bruins Vs New Jersey Devils
Head-to-Head: Bruins 1 – 0 Devils
The Boston Bruins spoiled any parade that the New Jersey Devils and debuting head coach Lindy Ruff had in mind, with a score of 3-2. Brad Marchand would play a major factor in the game as he opens up the scoring late in the first, assisted on the Bruin’s second goal and scored the shootout winner.
Nick Ritchie had a strong start in his first game of the season as he scored a goal and looked to fit nicely on the second power-play unit. Outshooting their opponent 37-22 resembles the same Boston team from last year. With the veteran leadership and talent on this Bruins’ team, finding ways to get pucks to the net and the strong goaltending from Tuukka Rask, Boston will continue to dominate the Devils.
The New Jersey Devils were missing key players due to injuries and work Visa issues, yet still played a strong game. If you’re a Devils’ fan, you can’t be anything but impressed with this team. They battled against a stronger team and found ways to stick around and gain one point.
A major part of clinging on, only to lose in extra time, was Mackenzie Blackwood. He made some big saves to keep his team in contention, stopping 35 out of 37 shots faced. Yegor Sharangovich showed he is ready to compete on an NHL level as he looked comfortable on the ice, displaying his skill set.
Prediction: Bruins win 3-1
San Jose Sharks vs Arizona Coyotes
Head-to-Head: Sharks 1 – 0 Coyotes
In an exciting matchup between two teams displaying many opportunities, the San Jose Sharks would come out on top in a shootout. Logan Couture would bury the winner in a shootout to end the game with a final score of 4-3. The Sharks outshot Arizona 23-17 after two periods and would lead 2-1 on the scoreboard.
However, San Jose began to lose their touch in the third, being outshot 7-19. This allowed Arizona to take control of the game, giving up their lead. Matt Jones was not a first star of the game, though he deserves mentioning as his goaltending was outstanding. Tomas Hertl and Evander Kane displayed why they are stars in the NHL. If Matt Jones continues the trend of producing a save percentage above or around .900, success is on the horizon.
The Arizona Coyotes lost Taylor Hall in the offseason but gained a few pieces being Drake Caggiula and Derick Brassard. Although Brassard didn’t register on the score sheet, he was an effective player and helped contribute to the Coyote’s first power-play goal. He looked good on their power-play, and future success looks promising.
Conor Garland was easily Arizona’s best player on the ice as he had one goal and an assist and was noticeable each time he stepped on the ice. Phil Kessel scored with 3.2 seconds left in regulation as the Coyotes would score twice in the final 3:30 to force overtime. Arizona put up a good fight during the back half of the game and played great. The issue was not coming out of the gates strong and quick enough. In a short season, a team needs to play a full 60 minutes.
Prediction: Sharks win 5-3
Edmonton Oilers vs Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Oilers 0 – 0 Canadiens
After a sloppy start to the Edmonton Oilers season, they made up for it in their second meeting. In the Oiler’s second game, the team transitioned to correct their defensive play. Goaltending from Mikko Koskinen was also much better and helped the Oilers keep the lead throughout the game. That was not the only difference between games, as Edmonton’s elite players, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, looked more like the stars we know.
Edmonton’s bottom-six needs to find ways to get into the game, generating energy and scoring chances. The Edmonton Oilers went through the offseason not correcting their issues, and it still remains to hurt them.
The Montreal Canadiens faced off against the Toronto Maple Leafs in their first game and looked impressive. Montreal had stellar goaltending from Carey Price and, Jonathan Drouin silenced the critics. Josh Anderson and Alexander Romanov made their debuts with Montreal, as each got onto the score sheet.
This Montreal team compared in similarities to the team that eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins last season’s play-in round. However, they carried a lead and ran into some penalty issues that created a collapse, costing them the game. The Canadiens can’t afford to give Edmonton’s power-play opportunities as that’s the area in which they excel.
Prediction: Edmonton wins: 5-4 OT
New York Islanders vs New York Rangers
Head-to-Head: Islanders 1 – 0 Rangers
The New York Islanders came out of the gates with a strong presence, looking to prove where they stand against their rival. The Islanders controlled every aspect of the game as they dominated puck battles and controlled the majority. Mathew Barzal, fresh off a new contract, put up a highlight-reel goal buzzing through two Rangers defenders.
Anders Lee, known for scoring goals, scored two of the Islanders’ four goals. New York Islanders Semyon Varlamov recorded his first shut out of the year and disposed of Alex Lafreniere’s NHL debut. The Islanders will look to use and build off of the momentum from their win.
The New York Rangers will have to reconsider their previous game plan and go back to the drawing board for this match. With a lack of discipline, the team took too many unnecessary penalties. This keeps star players like Artemi Panarin with limited time on ice, and it is costly.
Not only that, as it results in a tired penalty-killing group and takes scoring chances away. The Rangers top-six looked to lack chemistry and saw some lineup juggles during the game. Fortunately for the New York Rangers, this was only one game.
They still have a chance for redemption against the Islanders if the team can progress on their mistakes. The newly acquired Julien Gauthier was the best player on the ice for the Rangers with two shots on goal, four hits, and drawing a penalty.
Prediction: Islanders win: 3-2
Carolina Hurricanes vs Detroit Red Wings
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 1 – 0 Red Wings
The Carolina Hurricanes were the more dominant team outshooting the Detroit Red Wings 43-14 in their 3-0 victory. They were the more physical team and looked like the Carolina team everyone predicted to be. Petr Mrazek recorded his 22nd career shutout. Although he wasn’t busy, he made some key saves to keep the game away from reach.
Nino Niederreiter earned his spot on Carolina’s top line beside Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen and proved his value by scoring the game-winning goal. Defenceman Brett Pesce stepped into action for the first time since a shoulder injury in February last season, logging nearly 20 minutes of ice time. The Hurricanes look to be on the path to being a true contender this season, and Detroit shouldn’t take them lightly next game.
Dylan Larkin made his Captaincy debut only by making an early mistake, which resulted in Carolina’s first goal. As the game played out, Larkin looked much more comfortable finding his groove. He recorded two shots on goal and looked to gain confidence.
The Detroit Red Wings made acquisitions this offseason to improve the roster, Thomas Greiss being the most convincing player they acquired. The goaltender faced a ton of rubber and kept the hockey game much closer than the score revealed.
The Red Wings are still some time away from being mentioned as a contender or serious club, but they are on the right path and can only stay on course.
Prediction: Carolina wins 5-1