Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

NHL Predictions for February 1st

NHL Predictions

Welcome back to NHL Predictions, February 1st edition! Each day, the Last Word on Hockey team will break down every game and give our NHL predictions for each game.

The sixth game for February 1st, between the Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks, has been postponed due to Covid-19 concerns on the Golden Knights lineup.

NHL Predictions

Pittsburgh Penguins vs New York Rangers

Head-to-Head: Penguins 3 – 0 Rangers

The Pittsburgh Penguins have come out on top against the New York Rangers every time the two have met this season. That’s pretty significant. Two wins were in extra time, and all were by only one goal, but the optimism that that brings into Monday’s match is still substantial.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of question marks that the Penguins need to iron out. Their entire roster has looked a bit confused to start the year. Evgeni Malkin only has one goal and four points in nine games, serving as the peak of the question marks that surround the offence. On defence, players like John Marino have looked like anything but themselves, causing a bit of panic on the back-end as well. But the Penguins have been saved by some new faces. Pierre-Oliver Joseph has four points through five games and is rocking a 2.56 xGF/60 at even-strength, tied for seventh on the team. He’s breathed life into the team. As has Kasperi Kapanen, who has five points in six games. The two haven’t played in all nine games, like some of the roster has, but they’re sparking some forward momentum nonetheless. Pittsburgh recorded 38 shots in the 5-4 overtime win against New York on Saturday, showing the punch their team can bring.

But the Penguins have looked shaky in their own end. New York took plenty of advantage of this flaw in Saturday’s game, recording four goals on 34 shots and recording an xG of 3.5. Even though the loss was tough to swallow, it shined a bright light on a few areas of the Rangers that really needed it. Kaapo Kakko stood out throughout the game. In fact, so did his centre Brett Howden. There are a lot of issues with the Rangers lineup as well but Kakko and Howden performing well provides at least a glimpse of comfort. What doesn’t scream comfort is the Rangers’ goaltending. The duo of Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev hasn’t screamed confidence. They have a combined .885 save percentage over the last three games and a .897 on the season as a whole. That’s less than ideal. So while the Rangers offence seems to be finding its legs, the team has yet to figure out how to prevent goals.

Monday’s bout will be a fire-fest between two teams that don’t really know how to keep their opponents from scoring. But, as they have so many times already, Pittsburgh’s lineup looks a bit more poised to win.

Prediction: Penguins win 4-3.

[pickup_prop id=”4197″]

Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals

Head-to-Head: Bruins 0 – 1 Capitals

The Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals are two peas in a pod to start the year. Both teams have found admirable success despite lineups that, for one reason or another, look a bit doubting on paper.

But they’ve both found their grooves. Boston is thriving based on an impeccable knack for defence. They’ve only allowed more than two goals in two of their eight games so far this year. That’s pretty crazy. What’s more, they also lead the league in xGA/60. And now the team has star-scorer David Pastrnak back, something that increases the threat they pose tenfold. Pastrnak had one assist and five shots in the team’s most recent outing. But he provided 2.90 xGF. That was more than double the xGF that any Capitals player recorded in the team’s Saturday meeting and shows that, while he didn’t score, Pastrnak was still an incredibly dangerous threat in Saturday’s game.

Luckily, Washington didn’t have to worry about that threat. Vitek Vanecek has been incredible for the team. He faced 41 shots in Saturday’s game and stood strong enough to pull the Capitals to an overtime win. Vanecek has provided a .925 save percentage over the last three games — all wins — and is looking incredible in the absence of start Ilya Samsonov. But the Capitals will need more to confidently pull out of Monday’s game with another win. They only accumulated a 1.79 xGF on Saturday, compared to Boston’s 4.19. Washington was lucky to even force overtime against the defensive-dynamo Bruin, let alone win.. If Vanecek falters even a little, they could be in for some serious hurt against a Bruins team that should have won Saturday’s game.

Prediction: Bruins win 3-1.

Nashville Predators vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Head-to-Head: Predators 0 – 1 Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning are back to being the Lightning. Their stars are playing like stars. Their depth is playing like, well, like stars too. The entire lineup is clicking and has led to a 4-1-1 record so far. This includes a 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday. But despite a nice start to the year, Tampa had a lot of room for improvement in the game. Their offence has a lot more potential and in Saturday’s game, they only scored two power-play goals on seven opportunities. That’s a fairly disheartening performance for a team with so much offensive talent.

But Tampa’s defence held strong, holding the Predators to only two power-play goals in five opportunities of their own on Saturday. It was yet another Predators loss, dropping the team to a 4-4-0 record. Nashville has struggled in the wake of actual talent and have only beaten the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets so far, with two of their four wins requiring extra time. Nashville has also lost all three of their away games so far. That spells bad news for Monday’s game in Tampa, even considering the tight contest that fans saw Saturday. Much like Tampa, the Predators have fallen right back into their typical stereotype. Their offence has underperformed a bit, their defence has been alright, but strong goaltending has held them up.

But in the wake of a strong Tampa team, strong goaltending won’t be enough. Nashville has a lot of steps to make if they want to topple the Bolts.

Prediction: Lightning win 5-3.

Vancouver Canucks vs Montreal Canadiens

Head-to-Head: Canucks 1 – 2 Canadiens

This will be, by far, the best game of today’s NHL Predictions set. The Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks have met up three times this season and Montreal has scored at least five goals in each game. Two of their meetings were blowout Habs wins and one was a hard-fought Canucks win that had to be decided with a shootout.

The Canadiens will have a bit of a challenge, though. Josh Anderson left their last game early due to flu-like symptoms. While he does not have Covid-19, his participation in tomorrow’s game is still questionable. Whether he plays or not could be pretty decisive in how Montreal will perform. Anderson has been one of their stars so far this year, with four goals and five points in eight games. He’s also added 16 hits, a stat that ranks second on the Habs lineup, and a terrific 2.91 xGF/60. Montreal is still a very dangerous team without Anderson but his absence will notably change their on-ice performance.

But that won’t mean much against the Canucks. They’ve struggled to find their identity to start the year. Star forward Elias Pettersson has helped define these issues. While he has managed seven points in 11 games, he looks far from his usual self. With that said, things are coming along. And a dazzling performance from Brock Boeser, who currently leads the NHL in goals, and strong play from their depth has kept the Canucks in the North Division’s top-four. J.T. Miller‘s addition has also been substantial, as he’s the only Canuck scoring over a point-per-game.

Vancouver is a strong team but has leaned a lot on their depth when games get tricky. They’ll need to be firing on every single cylinder to beat Montreal and, well, it’s doubtful that they have it in them. Monday’s game should be a very, very well-fought fight but Montreal is simply the better team.

Prediction: Canadiens win 4-3.

Calgary Flames vs Winnipeg Jets

Head-to-Head: Flames 0 – 1 Jets

The Winnipeg Jets have looked pretty good, even without Patrik Laine in the lineup. Laine was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets and the return, Pierre-Luc Dubois, isn’t eligible to play yet. But Winnipeg has managed since ultimately mounting a record of 5-3-0 on the season. They’ve found a way to get their lineup to click, with players like Andrew Copp and Adam Lowry proving to be pivotal parts of the lineup in their top-six roles. But things aren’t all glitz-and-glamour for Winnipeg. They currently sit in the bottom-10 of teams in terms of xGF%. Of their wins so far, three have come by two-or-fewer-goal margins. Two of their wins also came against the bottom-dwelling Ottawa Senators.

So while there are bright spots on the Jets lineup, they haven’t managed enough to show that they’re more than… average. The Calgary Flames have also been incredibly average, with a 3-3-1 record. Calgary has been carried by their top-six thus far, with Johnny Gaudreau looking incredible to start the year off. That’s a very good sign, especially considering Gaudreau’s past struggles and trade rumours. But his star power returning to the lineup hasn’t been enough to earn them definite wins. It seems the team is always frustrating fans this year, for one reason or another. Their perfectly-meh 49.48 xGF% helps emphasize that point.

There’s no clear favourite in Monday’s match between Calgary and Winnipeg. Both teams have a promising top-six but question marks dotting the rest of their lineup. Neither has managed to instill any sort of confidence throughout the early season. Ultimately, it’s looking like they’ll be repeating their first game against each other this year: an overtime battle that Winnipeg squeaked out of with a 4-3 win. This feels very replicable, as the Jets offence has just a tad more firepower.

Prediction: Jets wins 4-3.

That does it for February 1st’s set of NHL Predictions! Make sure to tune in tomorrow for a new set of NHL Predictions!

Main Photo:

Embed from Getty Images


More Posts

Send Us A Message