NHL Predictions: April 22nd Featuring Boston Bruins vs Buffalo Sabres

Boston Bruins vs Buffalo Sabres
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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. This is the first set of games featuring the Boston Bruins vs Buffalo Sabres. Be sure and check out the other NHL Predictions for today, too.

NHL Predictions

Philadelphia Flyers vs New York Rangers

Head-to-Head: Flyers 3 – 3 Rangers

The Philadelphia Flyers (20-18-7) will wrap up their season series with the Rangers tonight and tomorrow. The season hasn’t gone well for the Flyers and they are all but eliminated from playoff contention. Losers of four of their last five, they will look to play spoiler in the East Division. They will have to do so without the services of starting goalie Carter Hart. Hart sprained his knee and will miss at least the next two games. Brian Elliott will get the start.

The New York Rangers (23-17-6) still have some hope to make the post-season, albeit a long shot. They are six points back of the Bruins but have played two more games. The Rangers have seven wins to go with four losses in the month of April. It may be too little too late, but they are playing their best hockey of the season. Goaltender Igor Shesterkin has put up some impressive numbers in his sophomore season. He sports a .920 save percentage and 2.43 goals-against- average in 28 contests. All-Star forward Artemi Panarin is enjoying another stellar campaign as well. He has 52 points in just 35 games this season.

Prediction: 3-2 Rangers

Boston Bruins vs Buffalo Sabres

Head-to-Head: Bruins 4 – 0 Sabres

No team has seen a bigger turn around since the NHL Trade Deadline than the Boston Bruins (26-12-6). They are 5-0 since acquiring forwards Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar and defenceman Mike Reilly. They have outscored their opponents 18-6 in these five contests and are just four points out of first in the East. They also have two games in hand. Rookie netminder Jeremy Swayman will get the start in goal tonight.

The Buffalo Sabres (12-27-7) have been playing solid hockey as of late. They are 5-4-2 in the month of April with some impressive wins vs the Pittsburgh  Penguins and the Capitals along the way. Still, they have not beaten the Bruins in four tries this year including a 2-0 loss on Tuesday. Journeyman goalie Dustin Tokarski played great in the loss, making 39 stops.

Prediction: 4-1 Bruins

Washington Capitals vs New York Islanders

Head-to-Head: Capitals 3 – 2 Islanders

The Washington Capitals (29-13-4) play a huge three-game series vs the Islanders starting tonight. Both teams are tied for first in the East Division with 62 points, just one point up on the Penguins and four points clear of the Bruins (who have two games in hand). This series will go a long way in determining who gets the home-ice advantage in the playoffs. The Caps have won four of their past six games, but have dropped the last two games vs the Islanders. Alex Ovechkin (730 goals) is just one goal shy of tying Marcel Dionne for fifth on the NHL’s All-Time goals scoring list.

The New York Islanders (29-13-4) are 7-3 in the month of April and will look to continue their good play. They have allowed the second-fewest goals per game in the NHL ( 2.23 goals per game) under coach Barry Trotz. Backstop Semyon Varlamov has been stellar this year posting a .923 save percentage and 2.20 goals-against average. Mathew Barzal has paced the scoring with 38 points in 45 games.

Prediction: 3-2 Islanders

Columbus Blue Jackets vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 3 – 3 Lightning

Another season series will come to an end when the Columbus Blue Jackets (15-24-9) battle the Lightning tonight and Sunday. The Blue Jackets have lost seven games in a row and are just 1-10 in the month of April. Just eight games remaining on the schedule before they can put this season behind them. They have played the Lightning tough this year though, splitting the first six games of the series.

The Tampa Bay Lightning (30-14-2) sit third in the Central Division three points back of both the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers. They have a pretty soft schedule in their last 10 games, but can ill afford any losses if they hope to take first in the Central. They will be without forward Steven Stamkos for at least another week. He is out with a lower-body injury. The Lightning are deep enough to overcome the loss, but it doesn’t make things easier. Both Stamkos and forward Nikita Kucherov (who hasn’t played all season) could be back and fully healthy for the playoffs.

Prediction: 4-1 Lighting

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