Welcome back to NHL Predictions, May 6th 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 first slate of NHL Predictions for May 6th, featuring the New York Rangers vs Boston Bruins. Be sure to check out the other slate of games today.
NHL Predictions: New York Rangers vs Boston Bruins
Chicago Blackhawks vs Carolina Hurricanes
Head-to-Head: Blackhawks 2 – 5 Hurricanes
As the leaders of the Central Division, the Carolina Hurricanes are poised to make a deep run in the postseason. In contrast, the Chicago Blackhawks sport a six-game losing streak and have fallen out of the playoff race. Tonight, these two teams will cap off their season series in their third and final meeting of the week.
The Blackhawks and Hurricanes’ most recent two games both went Carolina’s way. However, though the results were ultimately very similar, Chicago’s performance greatly improved in the latter contest of that back-to-back. On Monday, the Hurricanes controlled just about every aspect of the game. On Tuesday, the shots, high-danger chances, and possession were far more balanced. But despite the Blackhawks’ resurgence, the Hurricanes still managed to pull off a decisive victory in that contest. Right now, they’re just too good to bet against.
Prediction: Hurricanes win, 4-2
New York Rangers vs Boston Bruins
Head-to-Head: Rangers 2 – 4 Bruins
Just this week, both the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins had the fates of their seasons sealed. With a loss to the Washington Capitals, the Rangers were mathematically eliminated from the playoff race. The Bruins, on the other hand, clinched a postseason bid with a win over the Devils. They also moved into third, ahead of the Islanders, with the subsequent overtime loss.
Both teams enter this game having lost their last contests. The Rangers fell to the Capitals a second time, while a defeat at the hands of the Devils ended the Bruins’ previous four-game win streak. Jaroslav Halak looked shaky that night, allowing four goals on 21 shots against, and Brad Marchand was unusually silent. It’s worth noting, though, that the Bruins have had a tough time figuring New Jersey out. They haven’t struggled quite so much against the Rangers.
The Rangers’ chances of a victory decrease even more when factoring in the absence of scoring leader Artemi Panarin. The winger was ruled out for the season following a controversial hit from Tom Wilson in Monday’s game. Panarin is an integral part of New York’s offence, and his ability to construct and drive play will be sorely missed. Against this demoralized and undermanned Rangers team, expect a Boston win.
Prediction: Bruins win, 3-2
New Jersey Devils vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Devils 1 – 5 Islanders
The New York Islanders are rapidly falling down the East Division standings. Two losses to the league-worst Sabres have left them in fourth at a time when they should be vying for a high seed in the playoffs. However, five points are all that separates the Islanders from the first-place Pittsburgh Penguins. A win over the New Jersey Devils tonight would go a long way toward moving Long Island into a better position.
The Devils won’t be an easy opponent. They’re fresh off a hard-fought overtime win over the Bruins. But in that game, the underlying numbers heavily favoured Boston – the Devils never really had control. More than anything, it was a solid performance from Mackenzie Blackwood that bought them the win. Ultimately, the Devils’ victory wasn’t convincing enough to suggest that they’ll be able to do it again against the Islanders.
Prediction: Devils win, 2-1