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 late-game slate of NHL Predictions. Be sure and check out the early games of NHL Predictions too.
Carolina Hurricanes vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 0 – 1 Panthers
The Carolina Hurricanes have a respectable 12-6-1 record but are coming off of a three-game losing stint against the powerful Tampa Bay Lightning. They still sit in the last playoff spot with a four-point lead over the Columbus Blue Jackets. This will be a two-game series and the Panthers are playing well.
The Florida Panthers have a 13-4-2 record and have won seven of their last 10 games while leading the Central Division at this writing. They have two prolific scorers in Jonathan Huberdeau (7-G, 16-A), and Aleksander Barkov (8-G, 12-A). That may be too much for the Hurricanes to weather.
Prediction: Panthers take this one 4-2.
Detroit Red Wings vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Red Wings 0 – 4 Blackhawks
The Detroit Red Wings are tied with the Ottawa Senators for the lowest point total in the league with just 15 points. They are led by forwards Bobby Ryan (5-G, 6-A) and Dylan Larkin (4-G, 7-A). Over their last 10 games, they have gone 4-5-1 to show some improvement. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case in this matchup.
The surprising Chicago Blackhawks have an 11-6-4 record and have won eight of their 10 games. And, they’re doing it all without their captain Jonathan Toews who has yet to play a game due to an unknown health condition. The team is also without Kirby Dach and Alexander Nylander on long-term injuries. Yet, they’re still winning and that shouldn’t change.
Prediction: Chicago wins 5-2.
Los Angeles Kings vs Minnesota Wild
Head-to-Head: Kings 2 – 4 Wild
The Los Angeles Kings are hotter than a desert sun lately. They finally had their six-game winning streak snapped after losing to the Wild on Friday night. The ageless Dustin Brown has 11 goals (yeah, can you believe it?) and six assists to his credit. The Kings average 3.06 goals a game and allow just 2.67. Their power play has been strong with a 24.6 percent success rate.
The Minnesota Wild, like many teams, have missed games due to COVID-19 protocols. They are on a five-game winning streak. They will look to extend the streak to six with another win against the Kings on Saturday. The Wild must be wild about their amazing Russian rookie Kirill Kaprizov who leads the team in scoring with five goals and 11 assists.
Prediction: Kings prevail 4-3
Colorado Avalanche vs Arizona Coyotes
Head-to-Head: Avalanche 1 – 0 Coyotes
This is a rematch of the playoffs last season where the Colorado Avalanche eliminated the Coyotes in rather easy fashion winning in five games. Things may be different this go around. The Avalanche did have some trouble scoring against Darcy Kuemper but then scored 14 goals in two games to snap out of it. With Kuemper missed the first game of this two-game set, as they were able to defeat Adin Hill and the Coyotoes 3-2. They reside in fourth place in the West, after defeating the Coyotes on Friday night. The Avs are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games.
The Arizona Coyotes are a real dichotomy this season. They start a game well and slack off only to lose it. Before playing Colorado on Friday night, they were coming off of a two-game stint in which they fell behind in both games by a 3-0 margin. But, wait… they then pulled out BOTH games 4-3! Consistency may not be their virtue, but you must admit comebacks make for exciting games. Unfortunately, falling behind the powerful Avalanche will be something to avoid if possible. Without their star goalie (who could be back) this team fails to impress.
Prediction: Avalanche shake off the inconsistent Yotes 5-4.
Vegas Golden Knights vs Anaheim Ducks
Head-to-Head: Golden Knights 3 – 1 Ducks
The Vegas Golden Knights are rolling along with an 11-4-1 record and have games in hand on teams trailing them. With a great offence and amazing defence, it seems futile in trying to contain them. Mark Stone has four goals and 13 assists, and Max Pacioretty has eight goals and five assists. The net seems to belong to Marc-Andre Fleury again with his 8-3 record and a .942 save percentage to go along with a ridiculous 1.55 goals-against-average.
The Anaheim Ducks just can’t catch a break. After allowing the Arizona Coyotes to get back into two straight games after a 3-0 lead, had to be devastating. The poor Ducks have lost five straight and have redefined the word “choke.” After they play Vegas they face the St. Louis Blues twice as well as the Colorado Avalanche! Good grief!
Prediction: Vegas wins easily 6-2.
Montreal Canadiens vs Winnipeg Jets
Head-to-Head: Canadiens 0 – 1 Jets
The Montreal Canadiens have dropped four consecutive games and firing their head coach Claude Julien didn’t even help them. They dropped their last game to the Jets 6-3. The Jets have a three-point lead over Montreal for the last playoff spot, making this game vital. If the Habs lose this game, things could get interesting.
The Winnipeg Jets have won three straight and are looking to make Montreal’s life worse if they can win this game. Newly acquired forward Pierre-Luc Dubois has three goals and two assists since joining the Jets. He has scored on all three of his shots on goal. Let’s see if he can keep that streak alive.
Prediction: Jets continue Canadiens’ misery 3-2.
St. Louis Blues vs San Jose Sharks
Head-to-Head: Blues 2 – 2 Sharks
The St. Louis Blues, winners of just one of their last five games and owning a mere 3-6-1 record in their last 10 games, need to regroup. If they look over their shoulders they will see the surging Kings and lucky Coyotes gaining ground (or ice) on them. L.A. is one point back with two games in hand, and the Arizona team is one point back with one game in hand. When special teams stats are considered, the Blues issues seem apparent. They are ranked 28th with a really weak power play at 12.9 percent. Their penalty kill is not much better with a 73.9 percent rate placing them 26th.
The San Jose Sharks in their last game against the Blues jumped to a three-goal lead (sound familiar?) only to allow the Blues back into the game with three unanswered tallies. Logan Couture had the winning goal and the Sharks remain tied for last place in the West Division. They could gain some ground if they can get by the slumping Blues. A good way to accomplish that is to give the puck to Couture who has 10 goals and six assists in 17 games. This game could be a lot closer than it should be.
Prediction: Blues get back on track, winning 5-3.