Welcome back to NHL Predictions, January 27th edition! Each day, the Last Word on Hockey team will break down every game and give our NHL predictions for each game. There are only two games on today’s slate.
Chicago Blackhawks vs Nashville Predators
Head to Head: Chicago 0-1 Nashville
The Chicago Blackhawks were opportunistic in game one of their double-header with the Predators. They managed only 19 shots on goal in regulation but went toe-to-toe with Nashville for the entire game. Overall, they will be pleased with the effort, particularly given their injury woes of late. Adam Boqvist and Alex DeBrincat were just added to the COVID protocol this week. They join Jonathan Toews, Kirby Dach and Alexander Nylander (all on Long Term Injured Reserve) on the sidelines.
Despite being outplayed for most of the game at five on five, the Blackhawks can take comfort in some parts of their game. Firstly, they managed to catch the Predators on a few broken plays. Mattias Janmark scored his third goal of the season after intercepting a terrible pass from Matt Duchene to go the length of the ice. Meanwhile, Chicago’s powerplay continues to be potent. Yesterday, Dylan Strome evaded all coverage on the man advantage and took a nifty backhanded pass in the slot to finish past Pekka Rinne. And finally, Hawks’ goaltender Malcolm Subban stopped 36 of 39 shots with a tidy performance in game one.
Predators win despite flaws
The Nashville Predators have conceded the first goal in six straight games now. However, unlike on the previous three occasions, the Predators were able to rally in the third period last night. They won the game 3-2 in overtime. Captain Roman Josi cut into the middle of the ice and deked the puck past Subban to end the first of two games at Bridgestone Arena. Josi is the first Predators defenseman to score this season.
Nashville’s major flaw continues to be their special teams. Their lacklustre powerplay and hapless penalty kill have managed to stifle any momentum the team has created at five on five. The Preds have conceded nine powerplay goals in their last three games. Meanwhile, they are two for 24 on the man advantage in 2021.
Although in spite of this, they dominated the Blackhawks for the majority of the contest on Tuesday. Expect to see more of that tonight.
Prediction: Predators take it 5-2
Ottawa Senators vs Vancouver Canucks
Head to Head: Ottawa 0-1 Vancouver
The Ottawa Senators will continue their road trip in Western Canada after a blowout loss to the Canucks on Monday night. Despite the embarrassing nature of the scoreline, the Senators were unlucky in the first two periods of the game. Both Artem Anisimov and Connor Brown had glorious opportunities and forced smart saves from Thatcher Demko.
However, Matt Murray had a rough night in goal for the Senators. He coughed up a bad rebound on Vancouver’s first goal and later allowed Brandon Sutter to beat him over his shoulder from the top of the circle on a breakaway. Although it must be said that the defence didn’t back him up much either. Nikita Zaitsev completely ignored his assignment on another breakaway goal and Thomas Chabot fanned on a breakout pass, which led to a fatal turnover too.
After the game, Coach DJ Smith stated his desire to shake up the starting lineup. “We’ve got to give some other guys some opportunity to see if they want to play a little harder than some of the guys that are playing now.” Senators’ fans haven’t been pleased with the fact that some of the veteran players have been preferred over their budding youngsters. For example, Artem Anisimov has kept Colin White out of the lineup while Braydon Coburn is occupying a position that many would like Artyom Zub to fill on the third pairing.
Vancouver Canucks Recent Struggles
The Vancouver Canucks relieved some of the early season pressure by hammering the Senators 7-1 in game one of three at Rogers Arena. Brandon Sutter potted his first hattrick in his NHL career and rookie defenseman Olli Juolevi scored his first-ever NHL goal.
The Canucks have struggled on defence to start the season. They rank as the worst team for expected goals against and are among the top five teams for giving up high danger scoring chances. As a result, Thatcher Demko has also struggled for the most part. Although he did produce a number of excellent saves on Monday, posting a .972 save percentage.
The other main concern for the Canucks is the current scoring slump of their star centre Elias Pettersson. However, with two more games against the defensively suspect Senators, there will be chances for him to improve on his 2 points from eight games so far.
Prediction: Canucks edge a closer one 4-3
That does it for January 27th’s set of NHL Predictions! Make sure to tune in tomorrow for a new set of NHL Predictions!
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