Good morning, and welcome to another freshly baked set of game day predictions. This early game set is just the right way to start your day. We guarantee at least one of these teams stays crunchy in milk. Bright and early* and featuring the classic New York Rangers vs New York Islanders rivalry!
NHL Predictions Featuring the New York Islanders vs New York Rangers
Washington Capitals vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Capitals 4 – 1 Sabres
The last time the Washington Capitals and Buffalo Sabres met it was a blowout. The Sabres were in the midst of an epic 18-game winless streak, and the 6-0 score was no lie. But now? The rejuvenated team managed points in five straight before stumbling against New Jersey. A modest streak that included two overtime losses and a shootout win, certainly, but baby steps!
So it could be a closer game than the 30-point gap in the standings indicates, right? Great story, but not the way to bet. Alex Ovechkin scored his 20th goal of the season last night. Washington has five 10+ goal scorers with two on the verge. Buffalo has two – and no one else particularly close. If there’s any hope for the Sabres, it’s that the Capitals’ goalies haven’t been very good so far.
Prediction: No hope here. Sorry. Washington wins 5-1
Pittsburgh Penguins vs New Jersey Devils
Head-to-Head: Penguins 1 – 2 Devils
For teams separated by 18 points, it’s been surprisingly tight between the Devils and Penguins so far. Each team has only scored six total goals in three games, but both are primed to break that streak. In the Penguins’ last game they scored five against the Rangers, where the Devils chalked six against Buffalo.
Pittsburgh is still being led by Sidney Crosby of course, but that last game featured four players getting one goal and one assist – and nothing for him. They’re doing that “All our scorers are injured? That’s okay, Radim Zohorna will score four points in four games” thing they do again. And that’s just scary.
New Jersey, on the other hand, has maintained their tradition of a whole lot of losses. They won their first after trading away two of their top five scorers, but the Sabres aren’t Pittsburgh.
Prediction: Devils run out of adrenaline, and Penguins take it 4-1
New York Rangers vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Rangers 1 – 2 Islanders
The first three games were in Madison Square Gardens, and they resulted in three shutouts. Now it’s Uniondale’s turn to host, and we’ll see if goalies continue to take centre stage. While the Islanders have been duking it out with the Capitals for first in the Massmutual East division, the Rangers have been the scrappy underdog story.
Long Island is gearing up for the playoffs, adding two veterans for future prospects and picks. Clearly, they see themselves as a team whose time is now. And why not? They’ve won with blowouts, shootouts, and shutouts this year, and that’s just in the last four games. Any way the opponent wants to play is fine with them. Their captain going down to injury for the year was hard, but trade deadline deals ease the blow. They are, in short, ready.
As for Manhattan, they’ve been ridiculous. A bit sloppy and prone to mistakes, but with loads of individual skill to compensate. Which, of course, makes them tremendous fun to watch. In their last 20 games, they’ve had games scoring six goals twice, eight goals twice, and nine goals. Just once with the nine-spot, but still. And no offence to Mathew Barzal, who’s marvellous, but Artemi Panarin, Adam Fox, and hey! Who knows when Mika Zibanejad will go off for another 6-point night?
Prediction: Scoring wins this time. Islanders 5-4
*Why? When does your day start?
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