NHL Predictions for January 20th

NHL Predictions

Welcome back to Last Word on Hockey’s NHL Predictions! Each day we break down every game and give our predictions for each of them. Today’s NHL Predictions are for games played on January 20th. There are five games on the slate for today. Be sure to check out our NHL predictions for tomorrow’s slate!

NHL Predictions

Edmonton Oilers vs Toronto Maple Leafs

Head-to-Head: Oilers 0 – 0 Maple Leafs

The Edmonton Oilers are not off to such a great start this new season. They split their first two games with the Vancouver Canucks and then dropped two straight to the Montreal Canadiens. And now they get to face the Toronto Maple Leafs whom many have predicted will wind up on top of the North Division. The game will feature two of the NHL’s enormous stars in Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid. The Oilers must decide to defend better especially against a high-scoring squad like the Maple Leafs. The Edmonton club has only mustered 10 goals in their four games en route to their less than desirable 1-3 record thus far.

Oilers’ Firepower vs Leafs’ Firepower

It’s not that the Oilers don’t have the firepower with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl alone. Between the two players, they continue to dominate the team in scoring. McDavid has three goals and two assists, while Draisaitl has yet to score but has five assists. Yet, they have lost three of four games. Much can be directed towards their defence (or lack thereof) and goaltending. Mikko Koskinen has a .897 save percentage to go along with a dismal 3.80 goals-against-average. To make matters worse, veteran goalie Mike Smith who was to be the backup is out for multiple weeks due to injury. With the crunched NHL schedule this season hanging Kosknen out to dry may be a downfall for the team. One can be assured that the sharpshooters on the Leafs will be salivating to score more goals. Good luck Oilers, you’ll need it!

The Toronto Maple Leafs are rolling right along. They’ve won three of four games to start the season. It seems like the same old thing in Toronto. Mitch Marner has three goals and three assists, as does John Tavares. Auston Matthews has one goal and three assists while William Nylander has collected two goals and three assists. IF you can stop those three players or any combination of them, you have a shot to get by the Leafs. They are a loaded team and playing them back-to-back as the Oilers will be doing is not a pleasant experience.

Their only downfall was a loss to the much improved Ottawa Senators in their third game. Even if their defence is average, they can outscore most any NHL team, and they know it. The firepower they possess is amazing. This should be a high-scoring affair given the two team’s potent offences.

Prediction: Maple Leafs take it 6-4.

San Jose Sharks vs St. Louis Blues

Head-to-Head: Sharks 0 – 1 Blues

These two West Division teams met on January 18th in a back and forth contest finally won 5-4 by the St. Louis Blues. The San Jose Sharks took a two-goal lead only to relinquish it to the Blues with newly signed free agent Mike Hoffman tying the game at two. Young Jordan Kyrou got the game-winner at 10:28 of the final stanza to lock in the ‘W’ for the Blues. The San Jose Sharks fell to a record of 1-2 in this early truncated 2020-21 season. They are again weak in goal with the combo of Martin Jones and newly acquired Devan Dubnyk not setting very attractive stats. Between the two of them, they have 4.30 goals-against-average and a not too great .865 save percentage. The Joe Thornton-less Sharks are not going anywhere fast.

The St. Louis Blues are 2-1 and rebounded well after an 8-0 thrashing they sustained by the Colorado Avalanche on January 15th. They needed a win and they got one against the Sharks to get rid of the nasty taste of that showing in Colorado. They of course lost their star defenceman and captain Alex Pietrangelo to the Vegas Golden Knights in a free agency signing. The Blues acquired Torey Krug when they signed him to a free-agent deal worth $6.5 million AAV for seven years. The Blues are a quality team and they will show it against the Sharks.

Prediction: Blues win 4-2.

Minnesota Wild vs Anaheim Ducks

Head-to-Head: Wild 1 – 0 Ducks

The Minnesota Wild survived two overtime games against the Los Angeles Kings by the identical score of 4-3 to start off this new campaign. They lost 1-0 to the Anaheim Ducks on January 18th due mostly to a stellar shutout performance in net by John Gibson. The Wild have quite the young prospect in Russian Kirill Kaprizov who is the first player in NHL history with overtime points in his first two career games. He didn’t get one by Gibson though and seems to be a player to watch in the West Division.

The Anaheim Ducks lost their first two games in Vegas with one being an overtime loss. They go into this game with a 1-1-1 record. It seems that a lot of the Ducks success or failure will happen in between the goalposts. As John Gibson goes, so goes the Ducks. Max Comtois leads the team in scoring with three goals. He was the Ducks overall 50th pick in the NHL draft in 2015. The Ducks will struggle offensively and have yet to score on the power play missing all five attempts. The Wild could sneak this one out… but not by much.

Prediction: Wild win 2-1.

Montreal Canadiens vs Vancouver Canucks

Head-to-Head: Canadiens 0 – 0 Canucks

The Montreal Canadiens were very busy during the offseason.  They brought in Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli, and Jake Allen to add to their roster. So far it seems to be working as they are undefeated in regulation with a 2-0-1 record good for five points. Adding the three aforementioned players has got to help the Canadiens be successful. Many are placing them right behind the Maple Leafs to take the North Division title.

The Vancouver Canucks have gotten off to a slow start just like the Oilers. They are a less than admirable 1-3 thus far and are searching for answers. They have lost their last three games after winning their season opener. In the last two-game series with the Calgary Flames, they were outscored 8-2. That doesn’t bode well for a team that will face the tough Montreal Canadiens for three straight games. What hurts worse is losing twice to their former starting goalie Jacob Markstrom against whom they could only muster up two goals.

Prediction: Canadiens win 5-3.

Arizona Coyotes vs Vegas Golden Knights

Head-to-Head: Coyotes 0 – 1 Golden Knights

The Arizona Coyotes seem to have new energy thus far this new season. Players like Conor Garland and Phil Kessel are really clicking. Garland seems to be all over the ice and is great at digging out pucks along the boards and finding open teammates for passes The team is 1-1-1 for three points and is struggling through the loss of their captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson lost to injury. They are a team with some new faces like Tyler Pitlick who scored a shorthanded goal in the first of four games against the Vegas team. The Coyotes will not be muscled away from loose pucks as previously and will be a much more gritty team to play against. Darcy Kuemper in net seems a bit off, but it’s still early. They outplayed the Golden Knights in the first game of four but fell apart in the last period. If they can retain their energetic play they stand a chance to win this game.

The Vegas Golden Knights are just a quality team who is difficult if not impossible to stop. With offensive guns like Max Pacioretty, William Nylander, and Mark Stone, they come at you from different directions constantly. The Coyotes proved that you don’t sit on a two-goal lead against the Vegas squad. They will press and press some more to get back into the game. Robin Lehner is playing very well between the pipes and don’t forget they also have Marc-Andre Fleury they can go to if need be. The Knights may be golden, but the Coyotes are going to turn them into silver in this contest.

That concludes the NHL predictions for this edition, be sure to check our NHL predictions for January 21st.

Prediction: Coyotes prevail 4-3.

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