Welcome back to NHL Predictions, January 31st edition! 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.
New York Islanders vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Head-to-Head: Islanders 0 – 1 Flyers
In a rematch of the second round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers will play each other for the second time in two nights. While the Islanders defeated the Flyers in seven games back in September, the same could not be said for their first faceoff since. Despite going up 2-0 in the first, the Flyers couldn’t hold onto their lead. They allowed the Islanders to tie them at two by the end of regulation. An overtime goal from Philadelphia centre Scott Laughton propelled the Flyers to a 3-2 win and firmly into second place in the East Division.
The Islanders have been on a bit of a losing streak. Losing the second of their mini-series to the New Jersey Devils, both games against the Washington Capitals, and just last night falling to the Flyers, the Islanders offence is the definition of lacklustre. New York has scored the fewest goals out of every team in the East Division thus far. Their only saving grace has been their defence and some incredible goaltending from Semyon Varlamov. While the Flyers are the better team on paper, if they want to win again, their offence must continue to produce. Also, scratching leading scorer Travis Konecny might not be the best idea going forward.
Prediction: Flyers win 4-2.
St. Louis Blues vs. Anaheim Ducks
Head-to-Head: Blues 1 – 0 Ducks
The St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks face off in their second game of the season tonight. A convincing 6-1 by the Blues was accomplished by the entire roster. Two goals and an assist from right-wing Jordan Kyrou earned him the first star of the night. Points from all four lines contributed to their win, as well. Goaltender Jordan Binnington saved all but one shot and posted a .958 save percentage. Last night’s game propelled the Blues past the Ducks and Kings into fourth place in the West.
The Ducks saving grace this season has been the play of John Gibson. Playing all seven of their games, Gibson has put up a .942 save percentage and a 1.87 goals-against-average. While in some situations this might be a battle of goaltenders, St. Louis’ offence far outshines that of the Ducks. The Blues will sweep this mini-series.
Prediction: Blues win 3-0.
Colorado Avalanche vs. Minnesota Wild
Head-to-Head: Avalanche 1 – Wild 0
With a 5-1 win over the Minnesota Wild last night, the Colorado Avalanche successfully defeated the Wild in the first of a four-game stint. Before last night, the Avalanche and Wild were tied with records of 5-3-0 at 10 points apiece. Now, Colorado leads the West. Goals from Logan O’Connor, Joonas Donskoi, Mikko Rantanen, Brandon Saad, and J.T. Compher, propelled the Avalanche past the Wild and highlighted their extremely destructive offence. Arguably, the best and most versatile offensive core in the league, the Avalanche have finally found their rhythm–evidenced by a three-game win streak.
Right-wing Kevin Fiala was suspended by the league for three games after a hit on Los Angeles Kings Matt Roy. Without one of their top forwards, the Wild don’t nearly have the offensive impact the Avalanche do. While Minnesota’s young players have made key contributions this offseason, it won’t be enough to defeat Colorado. At least, not in tonight’s game.
Prediction: Avalanche win 4-0.
Ottawa Senators vs. Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Senators 0 – 0 Oilers
The Ottawa Senators and Edmonton Oilers face off for the first time tonight as part of the brand new North Division. In seventh and fifth place, respectively, these Canadian clubs aren’t doing so hot, despite their young offensive talent. With Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on one side, and Brady Tkachuk and Tim Stützle on the other, one would think they’d be a bit higher in the rankings. Unfortunately for them, that is not the case.
Despite the Oilers defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs with a McDavid overtime goal last night, their recent additions have struggled. Kyle Turris, Tyson Barrie, and Dominik Kahun have been a bit of a disappointment for an Oiler’s team that needs to keep pucks out of their net. Any team with McDavid headlining the roster is going to score, but if Edmonton wants to win games they need to stop opponents at the blueline. As for the Senators, with a 1-6-1 record, the club is on a seven-game losing streak. Outscored 22-6 in their last four games, the Ottawa Senators are beyond help. This game is a chance for the Oilers to collect two points.
Prediction: Oilers win 5-1.