Welcome back to NHL Predictions, February 8th edition! Each day, the Last Word on Hockey team will break down every game and give our NHL predictions for each game. Be sure to check out the early NHL predictions, as this is the late edition of the NHL Predictions.
Vancouver Canucks vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Head-to-Head: Canucks 0-2 Leafs
The second and final North Division matchup tonight brings us the end of three straight between the two. In the third meeting between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Vancouver Canucks, the Leafs lead the season series. Toronto has outscored Vancouver 12-4 in just two of the meetings. Each team has scored only one power-play goal in each game. Auston Matthews leads the league with 10 goals and has Vancouver’s Brock Boeser chasing him down with just one goal behind. It will be fun to see what player comes out tonight on top between the two.
Unfortunately for Vancouver, it doesn’t matter who they put in between the pipes tonight. Toronto has a highly skilled offence that is much more mature and too strong when matched up next to Vancouver’s. Another area where Leafs add another tick to the column is in the defence category. The Leafs win tonight and, they sweep this month’s series.
Prediction: Maple Leafs win 4-3
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Nashville Predators
Head-to-Head: Lightning 2-0 Predators
As the Tampa Bay Lightning head into tonight, they seek to extend their winning streak to five. In their previous back to back games, Tampa Bay won both versus Nashville Predators. The defending Champions lead the season series so far, with Tampa Bay outscoring Nashville 9-5.
Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point lead all forwards on the team with four goals and six assists each. If the Lightning’s performance doesn’t have you convinced, they head into this bout with a record of 7-1-1 and lead the league in fewest goals against with 18.
On the other side, team point leader Filip Forsberg has six goals and five assists. The Nashville Predators will be missing forward Luke Kunin, who started the season with a goal in each of the team’s first two games.
In Nashville’s most recent game, they would win the race to get on the scoreboard first. Unfortunately, they would be unable to take control of the game, allowing two third-period goals. The decision would favour the Florida Panthers 2-1.
Nashville’s goaltender Pekka Rinne would stop 34 out of 36 shots and finish strong with an exceptional game played. If a strong goaltending performance from Rinne is in the cards for tonight, Nashville could squeeze out a win.
Prediction: Lightning win 3-2
Arizona Coyotes vs. St. Louis Blues
Head-to-Head: Coyotes 2 – 1 Blues
The Arizona Coyotes are back at .500 after back-to-back wins against the St. Louis Blues. It’s important to get some points without captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson in the lineup as they fight for playoff positioning in the West Division. The Coyotes have boasted some passable underlying numbers this year, flaunting a 50.5 Corsi for percentage at even strength. Conor Garland is continuing his breakout campaign, leading his squad with 12 points in 11 games. Both Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta continue to form one of the more solid goaltending tandems in the league, and Arizona looks like they could still be a threat to make the playoffs.
The Blues are not a team that easily forgives, however, and they’ll be motivated to get back into the W column tonight. They’ll do it without Robert Thomas, though, as he may be out long-term with a hand injury. Their Corsi on the year sits exactly even at 50 percent, as the team looks to improve on both sides of the puck after a mediocre 7-4-1 start. Rookie sensation Jordan Kyrou continues at a point-per-game pace, and he’s quickly become a critical source of offence for this team. Jordan Binnington continues his above-average play in goal with a .915 save percentage. They’re a good bounce-back candidate tonight after a couple of games.
Prediction: Blues win 5-2.
That does it for the February 8th late games set of NHL Predictions! Make sure to tune in tomorrow for a new set of NHL Predictions!
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