Welcome to another day of NHL Predictions! Each day, Last Word on Hockey takes a look at every game and gives our predictions for the score. There is also a featured game for each slate of games. Today’s featured game is the Ottawa Senators vs Montreal Canadiens. Be sure to check out the other two articles for the early games in NHL predictions today too.
NHL Predictions with Edmonton Oilers vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Florida Panthers vs Dallas Stars
Head-to-Head: Panthers 3 – 1 Stars
The Florida Panthers toppled the Dallas stars in Saturday’s game but it wasn’t pretty. Carter Verhaghe carried the load for the Panthers, netting a hat trick, but his goals were interspersed with Stars goals. It was ultimately forced to overtime, where Aaron Ekblad netted the game winner, assisted by Verhaeghe for his fourth point of the game.
It was a close contest that Carter Verhaeghe won, not the Florida Panthers. While he’s having an absolutely incredible year, there’s no way he can repeat such a dominant performance. The Stars looked like the more well-rounded team on Saturday. They’ll get the win they deserve on Sunday.
Predictions: Stars win 4-2.
Nashville Predators vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Predators 1 – 0 Blackhawks
The Chicago Blackhawks are struggling right now. They’ve only had three regulation wins, and one shootout win, in March, setting a 4-7-1 record. This included a 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Saturday. The Blackhawks simply looked worse than the Predators through the game but their efforts weren’t helped along by the dominance of Predators starter Juuse Saros. Saros saved 29 of the Blackhawks’ 30 shots. This fits with the incredible string of play that Saros is putting together recently. In his last five games, Saros has only allowed four goals, despite facing 167 shots, or 33.4 shots on average.
Saros may not be the starter for Sunday’s game, though, after starting three games in the last five days. This would place the very-exploitable Pekka Rinne in the net. Rinne has a .899 save percentage this year. He’s also allowed an average of 3.4 goals in his last five games.
While the Blackhawks looked like the worser team on Saturday, a lucky goalie matchup could earn them a win.
Predictions: Blackhawks win 2-1.
Ottawa Senators vs Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Senators 1 – 2 Canadiens
The Montreal Canadiens are on a very surprising path right now. They’ve gone 3-2-2 in their last seven games, facing the Vancouver Canucks three times and the Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames twice. The Canadiens lineup is, on paper, fairly impressive and their losses always seem a bit strange. Jeff Petry is pursuing a Norris Trophy-calibre season and Tyler Toffoli has been terrific in filling the Canadiens’ goal-scoring role.
It seems that Montreal has been missing the final piece of the puzzle. But since their last game, they’ve acquired Eric Staal from the Buffalo Sabres. It was a cheap trade that helps flush out the Canadiens offence. It’s not certain where Staal will slot in but his impact could boost-up a Canadiens bottom-six that’s showed offensive potential a little less production than ideal.
And the Canadiens are undoubtedly hoping that Staal makes an immediate impact. The Senators are heating up. At least, relative to what they’re capable of. Ottawa has gone 3-3-3 in their last nine games. This included one win and one overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Despite one of the worst injury bugs in the league — with Ottawa now reliant on a fourth-string goalie — the Senators have managed a decent run.
Sunday’s Canadian matchup will be closer than many might expect. Ottawa has gelled very well lately. While Montreal is still, very clearly, the better team, the Sens will put up a good fight.
Prediction: Canadiens win 5-3.