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 New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals. Be sure to check out the late-game article for NHL predictions today too.
Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers
Head-to-Head: Capitals 2-3 Rangers
Washington held off New York for a 5-4 win on Sunday thanks to a pair of Tom Wilson goals. The Capitals have won two of the last three against the Rangers. Igor Shesterkin gets the start after Keith Kinkaid struggled in the second period. New York does seemingly match up well against Washington.
The Capitals are in a dogfight with the New York Islanders for first place in the East Division. Washington is third in goals for with 117 going into Monday night’s games. The ageless Alex Ovechkin has the team lead in goals with 18.
New York has to stay out of the penalty box if they want to win, since Washington’s power play is killer.
Prediction: Capitals win 3-2 in a shootout.
New Jersey Devils vs Boston Bruins
Head-to-Head: Devils 4-1 Bruins
Every game has been decided by a single goal if you count the Bruins season-opening shootout win. The Devils have won the last four games, including Mackenzie Blackwood preserving Sunday’s 1-0 win with a last-second save.
All of these games have been tight, low-scoring affairs as both teams are in the bottom 10 of goals scored. New Jersey is 29th in goals scored while Boston is ranked 27th. Tuukka Rask will still be out for the Bruins, so Jaroslav Halak makes the start.
Boston is still dealing with injuries, but doesn’t want to get dragged into a fight for its playoff life.
Prediction: Bruins win 2-1.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 1-1 Lightning
It’s the first of a back-to-back set with the playoff opponents. Columbus has been struggling with four straight losses. The Jackets have only mustered five goals during that losing skid. It’s now or never for the Jackets as teams like the Nashville Predators are making a rise in the standings.
Tampa Bay has suffered back-to-back 4-3 losses to the Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes, respectively. Carolina is right on Tampa Bay’s heels in the Central Division as they trail by one point with a game in hand. These two teams will play each other four times over the next two weeks.
The Lightning need space in the standings and the wounded Blue Jackets are just the tonic.
Prediction: Lightning win 4-2.
Detroit Red Wings vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Red Wings 2-4 Panthers
Both teams are coming in with two-game winning streaks, but the Panthers are without Aaron Ekblad for the rest of the season. Florida did manage to beat Dallas, but it’s going to be a lot harder to win without the Norris Trophy candidate. Sergei Bobrovsky could get the start with Chris Driedger starting on Sunday.
Detroit has played a lot better as of late, but is still stuck to the bottom of the division. The Red Wings did squeak out a 2-1 win thanks Mathias Brome’s goal. This back-to-back set is the last two meetings between the teams this season.
It’s going to be tough for the Panthers to find wins, but they’ll get an emotional lift and narrow win.
Prediction: Panthers win 3-2.