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. This is the early game slate of NHL Predictions. Be sure and check out the late games of NHL Predictions too.
Boston Bruins vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Islanders 2 – 0 Bruins
This game could have been the featured game of the night because when the New York Islanders and Boston Bruins get together magic happens. The Bruins have two regulation losses this season. Both came at the hands of the Islanders inside of Nassau Coliseum. Bruins are coming off a big win in Lake Tahoe over the Flyers. Will coming back East be a factor? In a normal season, the first game back is tough. And these games are usually decided by one or two goals. Meanwhile, the Islanders got back in the win column on Monday after a two games skid. The big thing for the Islanders will be controlling the top line of Boston. If they can do that as they have done in the past they will win this game.
Prediction: Islanders win 2-1
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Washington Capitals
Head-to-Head: Penguins 4 – 1 Capitals
When the Pittsburgh Penguins need a jolt they get it from their biggest rival the Washington Capitals. In five meetings this season it is surprising to see the Penguins win four games, three of which came by one goal and by the extra session. The Penguins have turned things around ever since their general manager stepped down. Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin are playing well. The team’s biggest weaknesses their defence and goaltending have really gotten better. Washington on the other hand has seen their power play start to struggle. A guy you will want to keep an eye on besides Alex Ovechkin is Nicklas Backstrom, who leads the team in goals. If Washington is going to win they will have to do so by a margin bigger than one goal. And Ilya Samsonov is inching closer to being ready to take the number one position back.
Prediction: Penguins win 4-3 in overtime
Carolina Hurricanes vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 2 – Lightning 2
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes are meeting for the fifth time, with the Lightning winning the last two games. Andrei Vasilevskiy has looked solid in the Lightning’s last two victories. Steven Stamkos and the Lightning offence are starting to put things together. While they have had their struggles they are still the Stanley Cup Champions for a reason. Not are the top guys scoring, but the depth guys are too. The Hurricanes are relying on James Reimer and Alex Nedelikovic to man the pipes with Petr Mrazek out of the lineup. Carolina is a team that can challenge for the top spot, but they need Mrazek back soon. They are getting closer to David Ayres status if they lose another goalie.
Prediction: Lightning Win 4-1
Dallas Stars vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Stars 1 – Panthers 1
This is the backend of the back-to-back games between the Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers. These two teams will be battling for the fourth spot in the Central Division. Both teams split the last two games in this three-game set. Florida sits atop of the division as the Stars try to play catchup with so many games missed. The Stars are riding Anton Khudobin as they did during their trip to the Stanley Cup Final. They are still missing some players, but the Panthers look good and are finally are putting it together. Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov are becoming household names if they are not already. This will be another close one.
Prediction: Panthers win 2-1
Chicago Blackhawks vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Head-to-Head: Blackhawks 4 – 1 Blue Jackets
How about the Chicago Blackhawks? They are sitting in the fourth spot in the Central Division. They are doing it without Kirby Dach and Jonathan Toews. Patrick Kane is on a Hart Trophy pace. He is getting help from Alex DeBrincat and Kevin Lankinen between the pipes. Chicago seems to have the Columbus Blue Jackets number this season. On the other side of things, the Blue Jackets are trying to find their identity, but are turning things around. Patrick Laine is scoring goals again. Not to mention the production from guys like Cam Atkinson. One thing that has to be better for Columbus is goaltending. With the weapons they have, this is gonna be another high-scoring affair.
Prediction: Blackhawks win 5-4
Calgary Flames vs Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Flames – Senators
The Ottawa Senators are looking to build off their wins over the Montreal Canadiens. The Senators get up for their rivals, but just have one win against the rest of the division. And in the battle of the Tkachuk’s all eyes will be on Brady and Matthews. The brothers always have good battles on the ice. It will be interesting to see if the Senators can take advantage of a Calgary Flames team that played the night before. The Senators are pesky and this is a game they can steal especially with the way Matt Murray is playing. This is a big game for the Flames, this is a game they must win if they want any shot of the playoffs.
Predictions: Senators win 2-1
That does for this edition of NHL Predictions. Stay tuned for another edition on Friday.
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