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 second of three sets of predictions for Tuesday, April 6th. Be sure to check out out the early and 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. The Tampa Bay Lightning vs Columbus matchup is our featured game.
NHL Predictions Featuring Tampa Bay Lightning vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Florida Panthers vs Carolina Hurricanes
Head-to-Head: Panthers 1 – 3 Hurricanes
The Florida Panthers (26-9-4) are top cats in the Central Division, sitting in first place. One of the NHL season’s biggest surprises they have been nothing short of spectacular all year long. They are ranked fifth in the league in goals per game (3.27). The Panthers have also taken the 2nd most shots of any team in the NHL (1272). They are also one of the hottest teams in the NHL, having won their last six games. All this despite losing top defender Aaron Ekblad for the season, just over a week ago. Jonathan Huberdeau (14 goals, 28 assists), Aleksander Barkov (14 goals, 26 assists), and Carter Verhaeghe (17 goals, 16 assists) have led the team.
The Carolina Hurricanes (25-9-3) sit third in the Central, just three points back of the Panthers. They have had some success against Florida winning three of four contests this season. Winners of five of their last seven, they come into this pivotal contest in good form as well. The Hurricanes rank eighth in the NHL in goals per game (3.23) and seventh in goals allowed (2.51). They also own the league’s most potent powerplay, converting 29.63 percent of their opportunities. This should be a good battle that will go a long way in determining Central Division supremacy.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 3-2
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Head-to-Head: Lightning 2 – 2 Blue Jackets
The Tampa Bay Lightning (26-10-2) are the other team in the thick of the hunt for first in the Central Division. They are currently second on the back of one of the best offences in the NHL. Second in the league in goals per game (3.50) on top of the second-best powerplay (27.59 percent). No slouches on the defensive side either as they have allowed the fifth-fewest goals (2.39 per game). 2020 Vezina Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy is having another outstanding season. He has a record of 23-5-1 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .932 save percentage. They have lost four of their last six, however, including a surprising 5-1 loss to Detroit on Sunday.
The Columbus Blue Jackets (14-18-8) are struggling to win games and sit seventh in the Central. Losers of seven of their last eight, a visit from the Lightning is not really what they are looking for. They have managed just 12 goals in those eight games and are 26th in the NHL in goals per game (2.47). More bad news, they will be without forward Riley Nash who left Sunday’s game vs Florida after a collision with Noel Acciari. With the trade deadline just six days away, look for the Jackets to soon be sellers.
Prediction: Lightning win 4-1
Nashville Predators vs Detroit Redwings
Head-to-Head: Predators 4 – 2 Redwings
The Nashville Predators (20-18-1) will wrap up their season series with the Redwings tonight and Thursday. Long thought to be “sellers” for the April 12th NHL Deadline, they have won seven of eight and are now in the fourth and final playoff position in the Central. Mattias Ekholm, Mikael Granlund and Viktor Arvidsson may not make it to market as once thought. Goaltender Juuse Saros has won eight of his last ten starts and owns an impressive 2.27 goals-against average and .928 save percentage. The Preds will come into this one VERY shorthanded though, with eight players on the injured list. Amongst them are Matt Duchene, Ryan Ellis, Arvidsson, and team-leading scorer Filip Forsberg.
The Detroit Red Wings (13-22-5) will no doubt be one of the more active sellers this deadline, but no movement as of press time. Forwards Luke Glendening and Bobby Ryan as well as veteran defenceman Marc Staal are some of the key targets. Look for “healthy scratches” pre-game. The Wings are just three and six in their last nine but do have that impressive 5-1 win vs Tampa Bay on Sunday. Can they play spoiler down the stretch?
Prediction: Redwings Win 3-2
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