NHL Predictions: April 22 with New Jersey Devils vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Welcome back to NHL Predictions, April 22nd edition! Each day, the Last Word On Hockey team will break down every game and give our NHL predictions for each game. This is the second slate of NHL Predictions for April 22nd, featuring the New Jersey Devils vs Pittsburgh Penguins. Be sure to check out the other two slates of games today.

NHL Predictions: New Jersey Devils vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Carolina Hurricanes vs Florida Panthers

Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 5 – 1 Panthers

The Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes are first and second, respectively, in the Central Division. Both enter tonight’s contest having put up dominant wins in their most recent games. The Hurricanes bounced back to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second half of a back-to-back, while the Panthers extended their three-game streak with a victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The head-to-head is decidedly in the Hurricane’s favour. Florida hasn’t won against Carolina since January, and the teams’ last three meetings were all regulation victories for the Hurricanes. However, several Panthers have been heating up recently. Anthony Duclair and Jonathan Huberdeau both recorded points in five or more consecutive games. Sam Bennett, whom Florida picked up at the trade deadline, has five points in his three games with the team. Tonight’s contest should be competitive – you’d expect no less from teams as good as these – but the Panthers, with momentum and consistent offence on their side, should eke out a win.

Prediction: Panthers win, 4-3

New Jersey Devils vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Head-to-Head: Devils 2 – 4 Penguins

Two days ago, the New Jersey Devils mounted a massive but futile comeback effort, scoring six goals in the third period only to fall short to the Pittsburgh Penguins by a single goal. Tonight’s rematch gives New Jersey another shot at ending its season-high losing streak.

The Devils’ loss on Tuesday can largely be attributed to horrendous goaltending. As a whole, New Jersey didn’t face an overwhelming amount of shots on goal, but netminders Scott Wedgewood and Aaron Dell still gave up seven goals on those 32 shots. Granted, the Penguins’ Tristan Jarry also let in a slew of goals in the third – but as he’d shut out the Devils in the two periods prior to that, it’s likely that undisciplined defence was more to blame than him.

In tonight’s game, the Devils have a chance of winning if they can manage to cut down on goaltending mishaps and maintain their offensive momentum from the late stages of Tuesday’s contest. But New Jersey’s netminders are far from reliable and scoring so many goals in a period is usually more a result of rare luck than extremely clutch skill. It’s more likely that the Penguins will clamp down on defence to hand New Jersey another loss.

Prediction: Penguins win, 4-1

Dallas Stars vs Detroit Red Wings

Head-to-Head: Stars 5 – 1 Red Wings

Currently, the Dallas Stars are just barely out of the Central Division’s final playoff spot, sitting behind the Nashville Predators by two points. A win in tonight’s game would make postseason hopes a lot more realistic. The Detroit Red Wings, on the other hand, have a better chance of winning the draft lottery than making the playoffs.

Aside from Detroit’s lone win in March, all of these two teams’ meetings have gone Dallas’s way. Interestingly, the Red Wings actually outshot Dallas in Tuesday’s game, recording a good number of high-danger chances as well. But whether a result of bad luck or solid goaltending from the Stars’ Jake Oettinger, Detroit was unable to convert on many of its opportunities. If history is any indication, Dallas should come out on top in this meeting as well.

Prediction: Stars win, 4-2

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