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 early games of NHL Predictions too.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Maple Leafs 0 – 1 Senators
There are no secrets here when it comes to these two teams facing off with each other. The battle of Ontario may have the Toronto Maple Leafs as the favourite once again, and it should. This is a talented team short of anything but the offence. William Nylander looks like he is on a mission this season, making the Leafs offence even more of a threat. Toronto will have to look to get on the board early and find a way to keep the lead. Ottawa has great young talent and added strong pieces to their roster.
Last season the Ottawa Senators were favoured in the season series, they will look to repeat their success. With the new additions to the team, it may not put Ottawa in playoff contention. On a positive note, it does make them harder to play against. Acquiring Evgenii Dadonov should help boost Ottawa’s offence. Tim Stuetzle, a third overall pick in 2020, could very well be a destructive weapon for the Ottawa Senators. If Matt Murray can reform his game and find ways to keep Ottawa in contention, Toronto’s recent struggles against Ottawa may become a nightmare.
Prediction: Ottawa wins 4-3
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Nashville Predators
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 0 – 1 Predators
Is it safe to say that Juuse Saros stole the victory for the Nashville Predators? Saros got the nod as he looks to be the number one in Nashville. He played one heck of a game making 29 saves, being the best penalty killer on the ice for Nashville.
Newcomers Erik Haula and Luke Kunin provided a major impact in the Predators’ win, both registering a point and looking comfortable on their new team. As the game carried on, Nashville relapsed into some bad habits and, the defence looked bad. Nashville’s fourth line…was bad. If the Predators do not sort out these noticeable issues from the other night sooner than later, disaster lurks ahead.
The Columbus Blue Jackets looked to struggle between communication and being on the same page completely. After Nashville’s’ power-play goal in the first period, the Blue Jackets lost all momentum that they were gaining. Yet, they still found ways to take over segments in the game during the first two periods by strong forechecking and generating offence.
The third period for Columbus was awful offensively as they only produced three shots on goal. With the game tied at one, you would expect the more offensive drive to regain the lead. Their penalty kill seemed more aggressive as they challenged Nashville much better in the third.
Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Joonas Korpisalo made a series of spectacular saves. Columbus will look to challenge themselves and find more scoring chances as the offence was their biggest concern.
Prediction: Columbus wins 4-2
Minnesota Wild vs Los Angeles Kings
Head-to-Head: Wild 1 – 0 Kings
The Los Angeles Kings held a three-goal lead going into the third period, looking like they had the game on lock. Unfortunately, they would create a flurry of penalties that would kill all momentum heading into the third period. The team collapsed defensively and did not make smart enough plays to clear pucks from their own end.
Los Angeles and Jonathan Quick were impressive on the penalty kill in the previous game. The Kings killed all six power-plays the Wild had. Some regrouping going into this game should get them their redemption.
In a wild matchup, Kirill Kaprizov was the talk of the game as he had made a solid NHL debut. He recorded three points in the Wild’s victory and looked good on the power-play. The Minnesota Wild took advantage of a Kings team that lost all momentum going into the third. However you look at this game, it was sloppy by both sides.
Prediction: Los Angeles wins 3-1
Anaheim Ducks vs Vegas Golden Knights
Head-to-Head: Ducks 0 – 1 Knights
The Vegas Golden Knights improved to 9-2-2 against Anaheim Ducks after their first meeting of the season. Robin Lehner would extend his streak to 4-0 in season openers. On paper, this was a clear mismatch and, the Golden Knights were just the better team.
Mark Stone broke the tie in the third, as he showed his ability to raise his level when it matters the most. The Golden Knights’ biggest acquisition of the offseason, Alex Pietrangelo looked to fit well with his new team recording one assist. This is a stronger Vegas team that makes little mistakes and leaves little room for teams to take the momentum.
The Anaheim Ducks would end their streak of having won the last three season openers. Max Comtois and the Ducks found themselves behind early in the first period. They came to this game with a fight in them and would tie the game. They had a great road period in the second, outshooting Vegas and contributing scoring chances. Anaheim pushed in the third but not able to generate enough chances to make a difference. Max Comtois made history by scoring the two fastest goals to start a season in the first 7:58 of the game.
Prediction: Vegas wins 4-1
Vancouver Canucks vs Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Canucks 0 – 0 Flames
The Vancouver Canucks looked good in their first game against Edmonton. They responded well and were determined to bounce back after the Oilers scored. Nils Hoglander made his NHL debut and did nothing but impress, scoring a goal and an assist. Braden Holtby and Thatcher Demko have provided the Canucks with solid goaltending in both games.
No difference to who gets the nod against the Calgary Flames. The Canucks played an Oiler team that sought payback and improved their flaws. They were unable to match their integrity. Vancouver needs to reassess and focus as their competition up next will be more difficult.
The Calgary Flames got off to a great start in their first game with their aggressive press and their top players coming in clutch. However, they blew a 3-1 lead in the second period as the Jets came out storming and applied pressure. The Flames dropped their first game in OT due to caving under pressure, along with unnecessary penalties. Jacob Markstrom supplied Calgary with great goaltending and will look to start again if David Rittich remains out for this game.
The battle between Calgary and Vancouver should get heated as this rival is nothing but furious. Calgary needs to avoid taking bad penalties and focus on their offensive game if they want to win this game.
Prediction: Calgary wins 6-3