NHL Predictions for January 18th – Late Games

nhl predictions
Spread the love

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 late game slate of NHL Predictions. Be sure and check out the early games of NHL Predictions too.

NHL Predictions

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Nashville Predators

Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 0 – 0 Predators

The Carolina Hurricanes sit at .500 so far after two games in Hockeytown against the Detroit Red Wings. Despite dropping one of those games, Carolina’s still gotten off to a strong start. Their loss was a combination of great goaltending from Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier and some poor shooting luck. In all situations, Carolina’s posted 4.06 expected goals per game, the best in the league. Yet their supposed strong suit on defence has been disappointing so far, with Detroit getting far too many grade-A chances in their two games. Therefore, Carolina’s expected goals against rates sit closer to the middle of the pack.

The Nashville Predators have gotten off to a strong start as well. Out of all their players that played in both their wins in their first two games against the Columbus Blue Jackets, only Ryan Johansen and Matt Benning are pointless. Yet their advanced stats would suggest their offensive play has overperformed, as their expected goals rate sits just below three goals per game despite scoring four per game this year. However, the NHL is certainly a game of puck luck, and if Nashville’s goalscorers (motions at Filip Forsberg) can continue their hot hand, they could emerge victorious over a Carolina team that’s yet to find their rhythm.

Prediction: Nashville wins 4-3.

Minnesota Wild vs. Anaheim Ducks

Head-to-Head: Wild 0 – 0 Ducks

The Minnesota Wild have all the momentum after two exciting overtime victories over the Los Angeles Kings. Rookie Kirill Kaprizov is leading the team in scoring and all-around play better than any fan could’ve hoped. After a rough start in their first game, Cam Talbot improved notably in his second start and has given the Wild decent, but not great goaltending. But anything’s better than last year’s mess, right? But the Wild have still shown added offensive creativity and capability even with the absence of the injured Mats Zuccarello.

So it’s rather likely that the Anaheim Ducks won’t be the ones to stop this train. They escaped with a single point in their two games against the Vegas Golden Knights, but there wasn’t much to like aside from Max Comtois‘ three goals. While somebody else is bound to score for Anaheim in this tilt, their lack of depth has been extremely concerning to start the year. Goalie John Gibson still has been shaky at times but looked much better in their second game against Vegas. You can expect them to improve their performance a little bit in this game, but one of the worst teams in the league to start the year will have a tough time beating a hot Minnesota squad.

Prediction: Minnesota wins 3-2.

Vancouver Canucks vs. Calgary Flames

Head-to-Head: Canucks 0 – 1 Flames

The Vancouver Canucks miss J.T. Miller. A lot. Their star winger is still in COVID protocol, and his status for tonight’s game is uncertain at the time of writing. Without him, they’ve gotten off to a slow start, including getting embarrassed 3-0 in their first game against the Calgary Flames. Being shutout on your first try against your former starting goalie has to hurt. They’ll attempt to get revenge tonight. While their youthful core of Quinn Hughes, Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, and Elias Pettersson have been helpful, the team’s depth has been struggling to produce. Throw that in with some poor team defence so far, and they’ll struggle again against a Calgary team with formidable goaltending and improved structure under head coach Geoff Ward.

Calgary hasn’t been breaking any records offensively but they’ve played a sound game in their two attempts this season. They’ve gathered three out of a possible four points, and the Matthew TkachukElias Lindholm line is working wonders for the squad. Jacob Markstrom rebounded after a shaky first game and now boasts a .939 save percentage. Taking Calgary to win again tonight against a dazed and confused Canucks team is a good idea.

Prediction: Calgary wins 4-1.

Montreal Canadiens vs. Edmonton Oilers

Head-to-Head: Canadiens 1 – 0 Oilers

The Montreal Canadiens embarrassed the Edmonton Oilers in their first meeting, scoring five unanswered goals en route to a 5-1 win on Saturday. The Habs have played a much more offensively-oriented style of game than we’re used to and it’s paid off. They trail only the Oilers and Hurricanes in their expected goals per game rate during all situations. They’ve actually performed up to those numbers too, with 4.5 goals per game so far this year. Carey Price has been good to start despite some chemistry issues leaving him hung out to dry at some points, posting a .913 save percentage.

But it’s still important to note that the Oilers are one of those few teams ahead of Montreal in expected goals. It’s largely in part to the usual suspects of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who both have started hot with five points through three games. Mikko Koskinen will again be their wild card in goal, as he looked tired in their last game. Backup Mike Smith is out indefinitely with an undisclosed injury. But still, McDavid and Draisaitl are bound to have another strong offensive game and could take advantage of a weak defensive system that’s been deployed so far by Montreal.

Prediction: Edmonton wins 3-2.

Arizona Coyotes vs. Vegas Golden Knights

Head-to-Head: Coyotes 0 – 0 Golden Knights

Another team who’s been unexpectedly adept offensively so far is the Arizona CoyotesPhil Kessel looks like a man on a mission with three goals through two games, and Conor Garland is displaying some impressive passing skills with a goal and two assists. Some important young pieces like Clayton Keller and Jakob Chychrun look like they’ve taken steps forward too. But tonight, the Coyotes will be without their captain in Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who’s day-to-day with a lower-body injury and didn’t make the trip to Vegas.

The Vegas Golden Knights haven’t let a supposed lack of centre depth stop them, as they remain one of the league’s analytical darlings after getting two wins against the Ducks. Both Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury looked good in goal against Anaheim, and newly-named captain Mark Stone has four points through two games. While Arizona is rolling, they’ll be without the leadership of their captain and will be stopped in their tracks by a well-coached team with elite goaltending.

Prediction: Vegas wins 4-0.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images