Welcome back to another day of NHL Predictions. Each day, we will take a look at the games that are happening and give our predictions for each one. This is the early set of predictions here on Saturday, April 3rd. Be sure to check out out the late predictions as well. In addition, we also offer a featured game of the day, which is a game that we think is must-watch TV. Today’s featured game is the Nashville Predators vs Chicago Blackhawks who are both tied for the final playoff spot in the Central Division, the winner gets to take it for themselves.
NHL Predictions: Nashville Predators vs Chicago Blackhawks
Boston Bruins vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Head-to-Head: Boston 3-2 Pittsburgh
The Penguins will try to even up the series against the Bruins and push their win streak to seven games. Leading the way is Sidney Crosby who has 10 points in his last six games. He’s had to step up because the Penguins have not had Evgeni Malkin since March 18th because of a lower-body injury. The Bruins are well aware of this and held Crosby to zero shots and one assist on an empty-net goal when these two teams played two days ago. However, Boston lost 4-1 because Pittsburgh’s depth players were able to score. Boston needs to continue to frustrate Crosby and play tight defensively against the rest of the Penguins. The Bruins have allowed the fifth-fewest goals in the league.
Boston also needs more offence but that has been hard to come by recently. The Bruins scored the fewest goals in March, leading them to lose seven out of their past 13 games. The Penguins have allowed the tenth fewest goals in the NHL, not making them a good opponent for Boston to get their offence back.
Prediction: Penguins win 2-1
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Detroit Red Wings
Head-to-Head Tampa Bay 3-1 Detroit
This is the fourth meeting between the best and worst team in the Central Division. The Lightning are first in the division with 25 wins and 52 points, the Red Wings are last with 12 wins and 29 points. This afternoon’s game starts a back-to-back series between the two teams. The Lightning won the first three games but in March they lost the last game 6-4. However, Tampa Bay outshot Detroit 44-17 in the game. As long as Tampa Bay plays to their capabilities, they should win this game. The only pathway for success for Detroit is out goaltending the opposition. That’s how they won their only game against Tampa Bay. The Lightning’s backup goalie, Curtis McElhinney, hasn’t been good this year and he should play in one of the back-to-back games.
Prediction: Tampa wins 5-1
Nashville Predators vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head Nashville 4-0 Chicago
Our featured game can see the Nashville Predators win and overtake the Chicago Blackhawks for fourth in Central Division, or see Chicago hold on to their position. At the beginning of March, the Blackhawks had an eight-point gap on the Predators, now they’re tied at 39 points with 38 games played. Nashville has won eight of their past ten games and Chicago has lost nine out of their past 13 games. To keep their position in the standings, Chicago will have to beat a team they haven’t yet this season. Everything is pointing in Nashville’s favour and they will be hungry to jump on Chicago. The only way they lose is if Chicago’s offence gets going and Nashville has trouble scoring like they have this season. With both teams having lots on the line, the Nashville Predators vs Chicago Blackhawks should be an excellent game.
Prediction: Nashville wins 3-1
Buffalo Sabres vs New York Rangers
New York 4-1 Buffalo
This is the second of a two-game series between these two New York State teams. The Rangers won in overtime but outshot the Sabres 47-23. If they put up another effort like that tonight, the game shouldn’t be that close. The Rangers have been playing strong hockey recently. They have won seven out of their past 11 games and are three points back of Boston for fourth in the East Division. Their strong play and eagerness to get into a playoff spot should help them keep the pressure going against the Sabres. Buffalo had two strong games against the struggling Philadelphia Flyers and were finally able to snap their 18 game winless streak. However, they haven’t proven they can beat a team that is playing well like the Rangers.
Also of note, Adam Fox and Mika Zibanejad have been hot recently. Fox is at sun-level hot with 10 points in his last five games. Zibanejad has five goals in five games. For Buffalo, centre Curtis Lazar is out due to injury.
Prediction: New York wins 4-1