April 29th Predictions with the Calgary Flames vs Edmonton Oilers
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Washington Capitals
Head-to-Head: Penguins 4 – 2 Capitals
And speaking of rivalries, the Pittsburgh Penguins vs Washington Capitals. Both teams have four wins in their last five games – both losing to the Boston Bruins. They each have 32 wins so far on the season. A scoring star is missing from each team, with both Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin likely to sit out. But don’t worry – these are the top-two scoring teams in the league, so there’s plenty of firepower. And they are separated by a single point in the Massmutual East division.
Weirdly enough, they haven’t played each other in just over two months. It’s hard to consider their last encounters as affecting this two-game set much. Guess they’ll have to rely on their playoff history.
Prediction: If Washington wants to even the series, they need to win these two. Capitals 4-2.
Detroit Red Wings vs Carolina Hurricanes
Head-to-Head: Red Wings 4 – 3 Hurricanes
The Detroit Red Wings have had a trying year, spending much of it near the bottom of the league. It is, mercifully, near an end, but there’s more light here than just the end of a tunnel. One of those lights is the fight they’ve shown against the best teams in their division. They’ve managed to wrestle the Carolina Hurricanes to a stand-off with 19 goals apiece in seven games. With a 5-3-4 record in their last twelve, no one should risk taking them lightly.
Carolina isn’t likely to. With just one outright loss in their last 13 games, they’re on top of the Discover Central division and are looking to break the rungs for anyone trying to follow.
Prediction: Have you heard? Carolina’s pretty dang good. Hurricanes 4-3.
Florida Panthers vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Panthers 4 – 2 Blackhawks
The surprisingly resilient Chicago Blackhawks haven’t had a lot of luck against the Florida Panthers, but that’s not going to stop them from trying. Chicago won their last two matchups, holding an otherwise powerful Panthers offence to just two goals. Granted, Kevin Lankinen needed to stand on his head in both, stopping 74 of 76 total shots, but still! They’re up to more of a challenge with Adam Boqvist out for the rest of the season. As if that’s not enough, they play against a team 20 points ahead of them in the standings. While Florida has had issues with their $10 million man and took a huge hit with Aaron Ekblad out of the lineup, the rest of the team is rock solid. Their trade for Sam Bennett is an unqualified success, and they are as dangerous as anyone in the league.
The last game for each of these teams was decided 7-4. The difference is that Florida won their 7-4 game.
Prediction: Never say never, but the money’s on Florida. Panthers win 6-3.
Calgary Flames vs Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Flames 3 – 5 Oilers
After big moves by the Calgary Flames in the off-season, everyone was ready for a renewed Battle of Alberta. Now, finally, it was going to be between two good teams again! It… didn’t quite work out that way. The Edmonton Oilers took a few weeks to get going, but have clawed their way to second place in the Scotia North division. The Flames… well, traded away Sam Bennett (see above). While the win-loss record hasn’t been in Calgary’s favour, it also hasn’t been entirely one-sided. Their last match was a 5-0 Flames shutout where Jakob Markstrom needed just 17 saves. Since then, however, the Oilers have gone 4-1 scoring 19 goals and allowing just seven, with Connor McDavid having a hand in 15 of those goals. Safe to say he is uninterested in missing the playoffs again
The Flames also have four wins in that time, but also three losses to drop farther away from that coveted playoff spot. Sitting six points back with just eight games left is not what they had in mind after loading the team up with veterans. It looks like they are going to be missing the post-season once again, but if they want to keep their fans happy, they can accomplish one thing: Beat Edmonton. The Flames have a pretty solid variety of scoring threats, but nothing to rival the Oilers’ best. And unlike other years, the Edmonton blue line has the more dangerous scorers – especially with Hanifin out.
Prediction: Always unpredictable, but this time? Oilers have too much talent. Edmonton wins, 6-3.
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