Welcome back to NHL Predictions! 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 the NHL slate for Friday, February 12th. Be sure to look for our NHL predictions tomorrow.
Boston Bruins vs. New York Rangers
Head-to-Head: Bruins 1 – 0 Rangers
Although the Boston Bruins currently sit first in the East Division with a record of 8-1-1, the sixth-ranked New York Rangers put up a fight in their first meeting. Rangers forward Julien Gauthier started off the scoring with his first NHL goal by putting a bouncing puck behind Vezina-winning Bruins’ goaltender Tuukka Rask. Tied 2-2 at the end of regulation, Bruins forward Brad Marchand scored the winning goal. Moving into fifth place on the most overtime career goals with 16, Marchand sits only a couple of goals behind Alex Ovechkin (24), Jaromir Jagr (19), Sidney Crosby (18), and Ilya Kovalchuk (17).
The New York Rangers fought hard and ultimately picked up one point against the dominant Bruins. Even after losing star player Artemi Panarin to an injury for nearly the entire third period, they managed to defend the blueline adequately and put a goal on the scoreboard. Mika Zibanejad who has been more or less silent through eight games had his most productive game yet. If the Rangers want a hope of beating the Bruins tonight, he’ll have to find a way to do even better.
As for the Bruins, they are doing everything they should be doing. A lapse in defence allowed the Rangers to take it over time. That’s not happening again. With one of the best penalty kill percentages in the league, the highest faceoff win percentage, and the least shots against per game, the Bruins are firing on all cylinders. If they keep playing like this, they’ll see the Stanley Cup Final in no time. For tonight’s game, there is absolutely no way they let the New York Rangers out-play, out-score, or out-defend them.
Prediction: Bruins win 5-1.
St. Louis Blues vs. Arizona Coyotes
Head-to-Head: Blues 1 – 3 Coyotes
The St. Louis Blues and Arizona Coyotes will face off tonight in their fifth game in a row. The first four at the Enterprise Center in St. Louis, the next three will be played at Gila River Arena in Arizona. The Blues and Coyotes played their first game against each other this season on February 2nd. A hard-fought game, the Blues came out on top, 4-3. The second and third games went to Coyotes. In their fourth matchup, the clubs were tied 3-3 at the end of regulation. The Coyotes beat goaltender Jordan Binnington in the shootout to go up 3-1 on the series.
The Blues currently sit in second place in the West Division with a record of 7-4-2. The Coyotes at fourth with a record of 6-5-1. These next three matchups between the West Division teams could change the ranking landscape dramatically. The Coyotes’ offence has been relentless. Production from Christian Dvorak, Conor Garland, Nick Schmaltz, and Clayton Keller has led Arizona to their three-game win streak. As for the Blues, they clearly haven’t been doing enough to force the win. The Coyotes have been playing better hockey and it will continue on their home ice.
Prediction: Coyotes win 4-3.