Welcome back to another day of NHL Predictions. Each day, we will take a look at the games that are happening and give our predictions for each one. This is the third set of games for March 4th. Make sure to also check out the first set and second set. As well, we also offer a featured game of the day, which is a game that we think is must-watch TV. Today’s featured game is the Toronto Maple Leafs vs Vancouver Canucks.
NHL Predictions Including Toronto Maple Leafs vs Vancouver Canucks
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Dallas Stars
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 1 – 1 Stars
The Dallas Stars had a delayed start to the season, thanks to Covid-19, but managed to start the year off with a strong four-game win-streak despite it. But ever since then, they’ve been disappointing. Through their last 13 games, since the end of the win streak, Dallas is 2-7-4. That’s an almost-impressively poor record. What’s worse is the fact that they’ve been outscored 41 to 27 in that stretch. Yeesh. The Columbus Blue Jackets have faltered in a similar way, going 3-5-2 through their last 10 games, but it’s hard to see them struggling to defeat a Dallas team that looks like a fish out of the water right now. The first of a two-game set, Dallas’ effort in Thursday’s game could be a crystal ball into the rest of their season.
Prediction: Blue Jackets win 3-2.
Ottawa Senators vs Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Senators 2 – 1 Flames
On paper, the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators are two of the most boring teams in the NHL. Ottawa has continued their track record of disappointing-to-say-the-least play and Calgary has been as “meh” as ever. But somehow, the clashes we’ve seen between the two so far have been incredibly exciting. In their first game against each other this year, Ottawa shocked Canada with a dominant 6-1 win. Calgary responded well in game two, with a comfortable 6-3 win. But Ottawa again decided to shock, winning the third game 5-1. Thursday will bring the fourth, and final game of the Flames stay in Ottawa. And there’s really no good way to predict it. History shows that it’s Calgary’s turn to win but how can you bet against an Ottawa team that’s scored 14 goals through their last three games?? Fireworks are all-but-guaranteed in this weirdly-exciting matchup.
Prediction: Senators win 6-4.
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Vancouver Canucks
Head-to-Head: Leafs 3 – 0 Canucks
The featured game for the third set of games, the matchup between Toronto and Vancouver is going to be very, very fun. The Leafs just got done embarrassing the Edmonton Oilers, holding them point-less through a three-game set. They also only allowed one goal through the three-game set. In fact, Toronto has outscored opponents 48-to-26 through their last 13 games. It’s no wonder then that they’ve gone 10-2-1 in that stretch. They’re the team to beat right now. Not just in the North Division… in the entire NHL.
For the first time in what seems like forever, Toronto is leading the league in points, point-percentage, and should be among the unanimous-favourites for the Stanley Cup. They’ve been incredible, largely thanks to an outburst of star-power, something that’s been a long-time-coming in Toronto. Auston Matthews has scored 18 goals and 31 points in 21 games this season and will be battling Connor McDavid for the Hart Trophy come year’s end. Mitch Marner (34 points, 24 games), John Tavares (21 points, 24 games), and William Nylander (20 points, 24 games) are all coming up big for the team as well; helping to form a Leafs offence that’s scored more goals than any team this year.
With that in mind, the Leafs are the clear favourite as head to Vancouver for a two-game series. They’ve already beat Vancouver three times this season by a combined score of 15-5. That dominance will undoubtedly carry over into Thursday’s game. And it’s not very surprising, given Vancouver’s current state of affairs. They seem dishevelled, to say the least. The team is finally feeling the repercussions of Jim Benning‘s decisions as general manager. While Quinn Hughes is proving his worth as a truly elite NHL defenceman and Elias Pettersson is finding his groove once more, the Canucks are still largely lacking an overall identity.
Hot-new-addition Braden Holtby, who was signed to a one-year deal to help Thatcher Demko assimilate into the starter role, has floundered in his new robes. Through 11 games, Holtby boasts a .893 save percentage and a 3.56 goals-against-average. This has largely contributed to Vancouver’s poor defence overall. They currently rank 30th in the NHL in goals-against. Against a Toronto team that’s filled with amazing talent, this is a recipe for disaster.
Prediction: Leafs win 7-3.