Welcome back to NHL Predictions, where every day we take a look at all the games going on. From there, we analyze and give our predictions on the outcome for each game. There is also a featured matchup that we consider the must-watch game. Today’s featured game is the Tampa Bay Lightning vs Florida Panthers.
NHL Predictions with Tampa Bay Lightning vs Florida Panthers
Calgary Flames vs Vancouver Canucks
Let’s get this one out of the way early. This is a nothing game for either team and it’s somewhat questionable that they even need to play it. Regardless, if you want some afternoon hockey, this is a nice treat! Both these teams will likely just be trying to escape the season healthy, but it gives them a good chance to get a better look at fringe players or young guys.
Some players will still be using this as an early tryout to earn a spot on their respective team next year. And with the laid-back attitude, defence takes a backseat. This leads to 6-5 Overtime games as we saw between these two on Sunday night. Overall, this game doesn’t mean much, but it might be a fun way to kickstart the day.
Prediction: Canucks win 5-4.
New York Islanders vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Series: Isles 1 – 0 Penguins
Now we get to the good stuff. The Islanders took a 1-0 series lead in overtime on Sunday. It was a game that saw both teams have their ups and downs, and if they play that type of game again, everyone will be in for a treat. The Penguins outplayed New York for 40 minutes but only led 2-1. From there, they let their foot off the gas and the Isles took advantage.
The third period saw a more dominant Isles team and the Pens were the ones who had to tie it up. Deep into the first overtime period, Kyle Palmieri scored his second of the game for the win. New York needs him to continue to play like that if they want to keep winning. He was brought in to replace the injured Anders Lee but had struggled thus far. Pittsburgh needs a better performance out of Tristan Jarry tonight.
Prediction: Penguins win 3-2.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Florida Panthers
Series: Lightning 1 – 0 Panthers
The only game that didn’t go to overtime on Sunday was arguably the best one. It’s also why the Tampa Bay Lightning vs Florida Panthers is our featured game. There were multiple lead changes and the 10,000 fans or so that were in Florida made the place electric. It is strange seeing that many fans again, but it also felt like true playoff hockey. Two teams that clearly can’t stand each other, this game had a little bit for everyone. Some big hits and lots of scrums, with a ton of talent on display too. Florida will be without Sam Bennett as he received a one-game suspension.
For Florida, keeping Tampa off the powerplay is the biggest key. That powerplay was deadly and it’s something they need to avoid at all possible. Florida was flying for most of Sunday’s game, and if they can keep it at 5v5 they have a good chance. The other big key is getting Sergei Bobrovsky in top form. He didn’t play badly on Sunday, however, he did look shaky at times. Sliding all over the net and overcommitting. That needs to change if they want to win four of the next six games.
Still, the arena should continue to be rocking in Florida and there is no reason this won’t be the same intensity we have seen for three straight games now. Look for Florida to come out with an answer. Falling down 2-0 and going on the road is not a recipe for success.
Prediction: Panthers win 4-2.
Minnesota Wild vs Vegas Golden Knights
Series: Wild 1 – 0 Knights
This was one of the more exciting 0-0 games you will ever see on Sunday. The Wild ended up taking it in overtime as the shots ended 42-30 Vegas. It was a goalie duel all the way to the end. And even though Cam Talbot faced more shots, Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t have an easy night either. He made numerous amazing saves to keep the Knights in it. Arguably facing more high-quality chances than Talbot. Regardless, both goalies were outstanding and it will be interesting to see if adjustments are made.
This is likely going to be a defensive series but don’t expect another 1-0 game. No Max Pacioretty was a tough loss for Vegas and hopefully, he can drawback in soon. On the other side, Kirill Kaprizov will only stay quiet for so long too. Look for some goals to come tonight.
Prediction: Wild win 4-2.