Welcome to another day of NHL Predictions! Each day, the 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 Edmonton Oilers vs Toronto Maple Leafs. Be sure to check out the late-game article for NHL predictions today too.
NHL Predictions with Edmonton Oilers vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Philadelphia Flyers vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Flyers 4 – 1 Sabres
The Buffalo Sabres (6-23-4) will try to avoid losing their 18th game in a row when they visit Philadelphia tonight. This is the longest winless streak in the Sabres history and just one loss shy of the NHL record of 18 straight losses held by the 2003-04 Pittsburgh Penguins. It won’t be easy avoiding the wrong side of history. Buffalo has struggled against the Flyers all year, losing the last four games by a combined score of 14-4, including three separate 3-0 shutouts. It’s hard to imagine a win here, but they did look to have some life in a close 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins pm Saturday.
The Philadelphia Flyers (16-13-4) would very much like to use this two-game series at home vs the Sabres to assist their playoff aspirations. They currently sit fifth in the Eastern Division, three points back of the Bruins. With just 23 games remaining in their schedule, they cannot afford to bleed points here. They have not been great in March, going 5-9-1, but great may not be needed here. Sean Couturier has been great since returning from injury with five points in his last three games. He also has enjoyed success against the Sabres with two goals and three assists in the three games he has played against them this season. Carter Hart and Linus Ullmark are expected to get the starts in goal in this one.
Prediction: 4-2 Flyers
New York Islanders vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Head-to-Head: Islanders 2 – 5 Penguins
The New York Islanders (22-9-4) will face the Penguins for the final time in the regular season tonight. They will be glad to see the end of this rivalry as they have not fared well against the vs Pittsburgh, losing five of seven including a 6-3 drubbing here on Saturday. They have allowed 3.43 goals per game against the Pens, well above their season average of just 2.31, good for third in the NHL. Still, the Islanders have been white-hot in March winning 11 of 14 games and can never be counted out.
The Pittsburgh Penguins (22-11-2) have turned their season around, despite a slew of injuries that have seen them dress 34 different skaters this season. They have won 12 of 15 games this month led by captain Sidney Crosby who has three goals and seven assists in his last five games. The Penguins sit third in the Eastern Division, just two points back of the Islanders and four points shy of the division-leading Washington Capitals. This is a pivotal battle at this point in the season. Expect a playoff-type atmosphere in this one.
Prediction: 3-2 Penguins
Edmonton Oilers vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Head-to-Head: Oilers 2 – 6 Maple Leafs
Another season series will come to a close when the Edmonton Oilers (21-13-1) battle the Toronto Maple Leafs (22-10-2) in a battle of Northern Division front runners. The Oilers will come into this one with a bad taste in their mouths, having blown a 3-1 lead to the Leafs with just eight minutes left in the third period Saturday. Naturally, it was Leon Draisaitl (19 goals, 34 assists) and Connor McDavid (21 goals, 41 assists) who paced the Oilers attack. This is very much a statement game for Edmonton, who have lost the last for to Toronto and six of eight on the year.
The Maple Leafs hope to continue their dominance of the Oilers and hold onto first place in the Division. They are winners of their last three but had lost six of their previous seven games. Their potent powerplay is also in a slump, going 0-18 in the last few games. They may not have Draisaitl and McDavid, but Auston Matthews (22 goals, 17 assists) and Mitch Marner (12 goals, 30 assists) don’t take a backseat to anybody. With the NHL’s first, second and third leading goals scorers taking part in this contest, you’d expect some fireworks. The goaltenders, Mike Smith (11-3-1) and the undefeated Jack Campbell (6-0) are expected and will have their work cut out for them.
Prediction: 5-3 Oilers
Anaheim Ducks vs Colorado Avalanche
Head-to-Head: Ducks 2 – 3 Avalanche
Winners of just five of 15 games in March, the Anaheim Ducks (11-19-6) have not been so mighty this year. They are very much expected to be active sellers at the trade deadline sitting last in the West Division. One of their more coveted assets, Rickard Rakell left last night’s game vs the St. Louis Blues in the second period with a lower-body injury. They still managed to win the game 3-2 on Josh Manson‘s overtime winner.
The Colorado Avalanche (21-8-4) will be looking to move into first place in the Western Division for the first time this season. They are just one point back of the division-leading Vegas Golden Knights. Winners of eight in the last 10 the Avs have thrived with Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar back in the lineup off of injuries month. Colorado is second in the NHL in goals per game with (3.42) and first in goals allowed per game (2.24). That’s pretty good. Shouldn’t be many issues in this one, getting the Ducks on a back-to-back.
Prediction: 6-0 Avalache
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