Welcome back to NHL Predictions! Each day, Last Word on Hockey takes a look at every game and gives their prediction for the outcome. This also includes predictions for a game of the night or the featured game. This is the middle set of games for tonight featuring Montreal Canadiens vs Ottawa Senators. Be sure to check out the early and late slate of NHL Predictions too.
NHL Predictions With Montreal Canadiens vs Ottawa Senators
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 1 – 2 Lightning
The Columbus Blue Jackets are running out of ice in their push for the NHL postseason. They sit sixth in the Central Division standings with just 19 games left on their schedule. Ten of those games will be against the division’s top teams including five against Tampa Bay. Columbus had lost four games in a row prior to a big 3-1 win vs the Lightning on Tuesday. Elvis Merzlikins was stellar in the win stopping 37 of 38 shots in the winning effort.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are in a battle of a different kind in the Central. They currently sit in first place but are tied with the Florida Panthers at 50 points, and just one point clear of the Carolina Hurricanes. They are currently on a three-game losing steak, their longest of the season. It perhaps is no coincidence, Tampa has played without Ryan McDonagh and Erik Cernak in the last three games. They are typically partnered on the Lighting’s second defensive pairing, and both have been sidelined with lower-body injuries. It’s that time of year when teams need to find a way to win, despite who is banged up in their lineup.
Predictions: 4-2 Lightning
Detroit Red Wings vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Red Wings 2 – 5 Panthers
The Detroit Red Wings will try to play spoiler down the stretch for teams in the Central. It has been a struggle for general manager Steve Yzerman‘s crew, as he works his third year of a rebuilding process. They sit 30th in the NHL in goals per game with 2.16, while allowing the sixth-most goals scored, 3.22. This will be their final game of the season vs the Panthers who have won five of the previous seven games outscoring the Wings 21-14.
The Florida Panthers look to take over the top spot in the Central, despite the loss of star defenceman Aaron Ekblad. Ekblad underwent surgery Monday for a fracture in his lower leg and will miss 12 weeks. They also lost forward Anthony Duclair during their 4-1 vs Detroit on Tuesday. Duclair appeared to injury his shoulder in an awkward crash into the boards and will miss at least a week. The Panthers are riding a three-game win streak though, that has seen them outscore their opponents 12-5. Like their state rivals, they will need to overcome the trials and tribulations of an NHL season if they hope to capture the Central crown.
Predictions: 3-2 Panthers
Montreal Canadiens vs Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Canadiens 2 – 3 Senators
The Montreal Canadiens came off their 10 day COVID-19 pause with an impressive 4-0 win on Tuesday. Carey Price recorded his first shutout of the season needing just 17 saves to do so. The Habs are looking to make up ground in the North where they are currently fourth, but have played five fewer games than most of the division teams. The first of two games vs the last-place Senators tonight will be a challenge. They have proven a tough opponent for Montreal winning three of five so far. They will need to win this one without the services of leading goal scorer Tyler Toffoli (18 goals, 9 assists) who has been ruled out for Thursday.
The “pesky” Ottawa Senators have done their best to make life difficult for teams in the great white North Division. They are last in the NHL when it comes to goals against per game, with a lofty 3.72 allowed per contest. They have had to use five different goalies in just 36 games due to numerous injuries, which never helps. Additionally, they are one of the youngest teams and rely on their youth to lead the team. Their top five leading scorers have an average age of just 21.4 years. The Fab Five of Brady Tkachuk, Drake Batherson, Thomas Chabot, Joshua Norris, and Tim Stutzle have a bright future. And they love playing the Canadiens. They have combined for 20 points in the five tilts vs the bleu, blanc et rouge this season.
Prediction: 4-3 Canadiens