NHL Predictions: April 26th Featuring Montreal Canadiens vs Calgary Flames

Josh Leivo Montreal Canadiens vs Calgary Flames

Welcome back to NHL Predictions, April 26th 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 third set of NHL Predictions for April 26th, featuring the Montreal Canadiens vs Calgary Flames.

NHL Predictions Featuring Montreal Canadiens vs Calgary Flames

Montreal Canadiens vs Calgary Flames

Head-to-Head: Canadiens 2 – 6 Flames

This has been a lopsided series, with the Flames dominating the eight games. The Calgary club won the last two outings last Friday and Saturday, so the Canadiens need some payback. Besides, the Montreal team is fighting to keep their current fourth place spot to get to the postseason. Montreal has a four-point lead with a game in hand but has dropped seven of its last 10 contests. It hasn’t helped that they lost their star goalie Carey Price to injury. The Habs are led by Tyler Toffoli with 24 goals and 35 points in 43 games. Jake Allen has tried to fill in until Price gets back but hasn’t done well losing twice. The Habs need to stay out of the penalty box since their penalty kill is only ranked at 24th. Their offence needs to take over this game if they expect to win.

The Flames seem to be one of those teams balancing on the edge of making the playoffs or missing out. They have hired Darryl Sittler as their head coach but he has only had 10 wins out of 21 tries this season. He is a sarcastic person as exemplified by his recent post-game zoom meeting with the press.

In any case, the Flames trailing for the final playoff spot means this game is a four-point game and we all know how important points are at this stage of the season. They will need to do it without their star defenceman Noah Hanifin who sustained a shoulder injury in Saturday’s game.

Prediction: Flames grill the Habs 5-3

Anaheim Ducks vs Los Angeles Kings

Head-to-Head: Ducks 2 – 2 Kings

These two teams occupy the last two spots in the West Division and will battle it out to see who may go further down in the standings. The Ducks are just not doing well at all this season.  They’ve lost four straight and now must face the Kings four times in a row. The scheduling this season has been bananas. The first two games are in L.A. following by two in nearby Anaheim. No real home-ice advantage to speak of. The Ducks are just looking to end the season on a winning note. They are pretty much out of a playoff running and may now hope for a good draft lottery number. The Ducks are cooked for this season anyway.

The L.A. Kings had thought they could still be making a run for that coveted fourth spot to get to the postseason. But, they were shutout by Darcy Kuemper and the Coyotes on Saturday night. They trail the Coyotes by seven points with 11 games remaining. It’s still not mathematically impossible, but they need to pick up some wins to get there. Even with Anze Kopitar scoring at a point a game, this team has a ways to go to be competitive again. Maybe they can swing a Jack Eichel deal in the offseason. That may do the trick.

Prediction: Kings take the Ducks 4-1

Arizona Coyotes vs San Jose Sharks

Head-to-Head: Coyotes 3 – 1 Sharks

The Arizona Coyotes are hanging on to the last playoff berth in the West Division by the slimmest of margins… one point. Even though the St. Louis Blues won their game Saturday to leapfrog ahead of the Coyotes, the Arizona club shut out the Kings to take back that valued last playoff position. This game, like the last game will be critical for the Desert Dogs to remain ahead of the Blues who have a three games in hand advantage. Of course, the Coyotes have a much favourable schedule and we’ll see if that makes a difference soon. At least the Coyotes have Kuemper back, but also lost high scoring forward Conor Garland (32 points in 45 games) to injury. He may be back in a few games, but for now, the team needs to win without him.

The San Jose Sharks seemed to be interested in competing for a playoff berth, but have faltered of late. They have dropped eight straight including a shootout loss and this is their chance to really give the Coyotes some pain while ending their long winless stretch. The Sharks only score 2.55 goals a game while yielding 3.40 a game. Thus, something needs to change if they really have any perception of having a successful season. The problem is they only have nine games to get that done. Unfortunately for them, the Arizona club has much more to play for in this game.

Prediction: Coyotes keep their playoff hopes alive with a 4-1 win

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