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 Montreal Canadiens. Be sure to check out the early game article for NHL predictions today too.
NHL Predictions With Edmonton Oilers vs Montreal Canadiens
Edmonton Oilers vs Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Oilers 1 – 2 Canadiens
The Edmonton Oilers ( 21-13-1) come into this game just three points out of first place in the North Division. A 3-2 overtime win vs the Toronto Maple Leafs should have them on a high, but also a little tired. The Oilers are 7-3 in their last 10 games, led by NHL points leader Connor McDavid (21 goals, 41 assists). Goaltender Mike Smith has been great for Edmonton this season posting a 2.44 goals-against average and .918 save percentage. This series has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. The Habs won the first two meetings in January, 5-1 and 3-1. The Oilers earned their lone win on February 11th, in a 3-0 shutout.
The Montreal Canadiens (14-8-9) haven’t played a game since March 20th, a 5-4 shootout win vs the Vancouver Canucks. Time will tell if the COVID-19 pause will help the Habs, who had lost four of six before the stoppage. They currently sit in the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division, just two points clear of the Calgary Flames and Canucks. The good news? They have played five fewer games. The bad news? They will play a heavily concentrated schedule down the stretch.
Prediction: 4-3 Canadiens
Carolina Hurricanes vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 2 – 1 Blackhawks
The Carolina Hurricanes (23-7-3) are as hot and as good as any team in the NHL. They have won 10 of 13 games in March including three in a row. In their last outing on Saturday they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 and are currently just one point back of first place. They are a strong balanced team and rank sixth in the NHL in goals per game (3.27) and seventh in goals allowed per game (2,52). All this despite losing their starting goalie Petr Mrazek early in the campaign. James Reimer had played well, but rookie Alex Nedeljkovic has been better. He has posted an 8-2-2 record with a 2.05 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage.
The Chicago Blackhawks (16-15-5) have fallen on hard times in March and out of the playoffs, currently sitting in fifth. Just four wins to go with nine losses in January is a cause for concern with just 20 games left on their schedule. Rookie goaltender Kevin Lankinen has lost six of the last 9 allowing three or more goals in five of the games.
Prediction: 4-2 Hurricanes
Dallas Stars vs Nashville Predators
Head-to-Head: Stars 2 – 2 Predators
The Dallas Stars (11-12-9) need to start making a move in the Central Division. They sit in seventh place, six points back of the Predators, but with four games in-hand. The Stars rely heavily on defence to win games as they rank eighth in goals allowed per game (2.59) in the NHL. Scoring is a whole other can of worms. They are 25th in the league averaging 2.75 goals per game. Losers in four of their last five, including a 4-3 shootout loss to the Preds, Dallas needs to right the ship quick.
The Nashville Predators (18-17-1) once thought to be a trade deadline seller, have other ideas. They have won five games in a row scoring 19 goals and allowing just seven in that stretch. They will need to keep this hot streak going while nursing a number of injuries. Team leading scorer Filip Forsberg is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Goaltender Juuse Saros has the same designation. This game will be a pivotal matchup for two teams currently going in opposite directions.
Prediction: 3-1 Stars