Welcome back to NHL Predictions where each and every day we break down all the NHL games going on. On top of that, we have our featured game of the day that includes the must-watch game going on at that time. Today’s featured match is the Tampa Bay Lightning vs Chicago Blackhawks. However, this is only the early slate of NHL predictions. Be sure to check the late games out too!
NHL Predictions Featuring Tampa Bay Lightning vs Chicago Blackhawks
Buffalo Sabres vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Sabres 0-5 Islanders
This is the second straight day these two are facing off. As well, the third game in a row. Yesterday, the New York Islanders won 5-2, extending the Sabres losing streak to five games. The Islanders also took the first four matchups of these teams. It is a bit of a mismatch for how the season has gone so far. Buffalo has been at the bottom of the East, with rumours being plentiful. However, the Islanders continue their way and keep plugging along. A team that isn’t filled with skill finds ways to win and get it done. Once again putting them near the top of a very close division.
The Islanders depth in net is what may get the job done today. Semyon Varlamov has been solid this year and rookie Ilya Sorokin has played well in six games too. Varlamov started last night so Sorokin likely gets the net. A defensive-style game might be in store here and that helps New York.
Prediction: Islanders win 3-2.
Florida Panthers vs Carolina Hurricanes
Head-to-Head: Panthers 1 – 2 Hurricanes
This is another one that was considered for the featured game. Two of the best in the Central going at it. So far this year, these two teams have been playing each other very tightly. Most games have been decided by one goal and two of them took more than 60 minutes. Alexander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau have been amazing for the Panthers. But Chris Driedger taking the starting net from Sergei Bobrovsky is the biggest story. The Panthers played yesterday while the Hurricanes are rested, so look for that to play a factor. However, it should be a close one yet again.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 4-3 in Overtime
New Jersey Devils vs Boston Bruins
Head-to-Head: Devils 2 – 1 Bruins
The New Jersey Devils weren’t expected to do too much this season, and have been on par with that standard. However, in their three matchups against the Boston Bruins, they have won two and lost the third in overtime. The Devils aren’t a great team, but if you take them lightly they will take two points. That’s why this matchup should be pretty entertaining. Unfortunately, the Bruins will be without Brandon Carlo because of a dirty hit Friday night.
The Devils played yesterday too while the Bruins had the night off, so that plays in Boston’s favour. However, the Bruins have been decimated by injuries, especially on the blueline. For two teams that are apart in the standings, this has the potential to be a close game.
Prediction: Devils win 5-4
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Lightning 3 – 1 Blackhawks
If you would have said that in 2021, a rematch of the 2015 Cup Finals would be a thrilling one, most wouldn’t believe you. Especially with how the Blackhawks had been trending lately. However, they have fought in this division and thanks to some solid goaltending, are one of the favourites to make the playoffs. This is the third straight game between these two, with the previous two both going to OT. The Lightning have so much depth that even with bigger names like Nikita Kucherov out, they are still a powerhouse. The Hawks, on the other hand, will need all the help they can get. It’s impressive that they have gone this far without captain Jonathan Toews. Brent Seabrook officially retired the other day too.
However, names like Patrick Kane keep this team fun and afloat for now. Tampa can’t take the Hawks lightly, which they have almost certainly figured out by now. If Tampa brings their best performance, there will be little Chicago can do to stop it. But staying close and keeping the Lightning to the outside will have to be the recipe for success. Hopefully, this third game follows the last two and is extremely exciting both ways.
Prediction: Lightning win 4-3