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. The featured game is the Montreal Canadiens vs Vancouver Canucks. This is the late slate of games today, so be sure to go check out the early game predictions as well!
Arizona Coyotes vs Colorado Avalanche
Coyotes 0 – 2 Avalanche
The Arizona Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche face-off for the third time in the season series; With Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar out with injury, Conor Garland and company will try to take advantage of the injured Avalanche roster. The last time these two teams met, it was a 6-2 thrashing by the Avalanche. MacKinnon registered a goal, with linemate Gabriel Landeskog tallying a goal and Mikko Rantanen notching three assists. The game before that was closer, with Coyotes Phil Kessel scoring a goal and tallying an assist. Drake Caggiula also added a goal, with Garland, Christian Dvorak, and Jakob Chychrun adding assists. These two teams have a very brief history from last year’s playoffs, which is gradually expanding.
Prediction: 5-3 Avalanche
Montreal Canadiens vs Vancouver Canucks
Canadiens 4 – 1 Canucks
The Montreal Canadiens and Vancouver Canucks have had a fascinating storyline this season. The North Division is must-see television around the hockey world, but Tyler Toffoli‘s revenge tour has made these matchups extremely appealing. Toffoli is tied for second in goals with Connor McDavid at 15, but eight of them have come against the Canucks. With the debacle over the offseason within the Canucks organization about whether to sign him, it only added gas to the flame. On the other end of the spectrum, Phillip Danault has yet to score a goal this season. He has ten assists on the year–eight of them being primary. However, the Canadiens forwards are certainly missing his goal-scoring.
The Canucks have been without Elias Pettersson for two games now due to an upper-body injury. He was considered day-to-day by head coach Travis Green. Rookie Nils Hoglander, stud defenceman Quinn Hughes, and Canucks leading goal and point scorer Brock Boeser all need to make their respective presences felt if they hope to bring home the win.
Prediction: 4-3 Canadiens
Los Angeles Kings vs Anaheim Ducks
Kings 0 – 1 Ducks
The Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks match up for only the second time in this 56 game season. The only previous matchup was the debut of anticipated sniper Arthur Kaliyev. After potting the rebound on a weird bounce off of Ducks goaltender John Gibson‘s pad, he scored his first goal. Unfortunately, that is the only game action Kaliyev has seen this season. On the veteran side of the table in LA, Anze Kopitar has done his usual silent leadership shtick. He doesn’t make many highlight-reel plays, but he leads the team in scoring with 28 points. Dustin Brown is double the next closest goal scorer, leading the team with 12. Drew Doughty has been an excellent powerplay presence, with 12 of his 19 points coming with the man-advantage. The Ducks have not been good so far this year, as most fans expected. The debut of Trevor Zegras brought some hope to the fanbase, but he was ultimately scratched in their last game against the Avalanche.
Not much has changed on the Ducks’ statistical side, with Max Comtois leading the way with nine goals and tied for first in points on the team with Rickard Rakell. John Gibson has fallen back down to earth in the net with a few rough outings recently, but he can bounce back at any time. He also plays the most volatile position in hockey, which helps in the end as well. These teams have not had the opportunity to showcase themselves against each other so far this year, so it will be interesting to see which team jumps on which at the start of the game.
Prediction: 4-2 Kings