Welcome back to NHL Predictions, Playoff edition. Each day, the Last Word on Hockey will break down each game and give our NHL predictions. There are four Stanley Cup playoff games today. Today’s featured game is Game 4 of the St Louis Blues vs Colorado Avalanche series.
NHL Predictions: St Louis Blues vs Colorado Avalanche
Avalanche lead series 3-0
In every game of this series so far, Colorado has scored the first goal and St. Louis has had to try and play catch up. But by the time the third period rolls around, the Avalanche blew the game out of the water. The Blues have not led once. It’s hard to win a game if you can’t even lead a game.
The Blues are falling apart in every sense of the word. With David Perron on the COVID-list and the top line of Jaden Schwartz, Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko combining for just one point in three games, the Blues have averaged less than two goals a game. That’s simply not enough to compete with the offensive firepower Colorado has in its first line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. They have a combined 18 points in three games.
With injuries to defencemen Carl Gunnarsson, Vince Dunn, Robert Bortuzzo and Justin Faulk, the Blues have been forced to play defencemen with little to no NHL experience, let alone NHL playoff experience. If you combine one of the best lines in the NHL with Blues goalie Jordan Binnington is doing his best all things considered, but Colorado goalie Philipp Grubauer is just outplaying him.
It’s pretty obvious that Colorado has St. Louis beat in every area and that is sure to continue in Game 4.
Prediction: Avalanche win 4-3
Washington Capitals vs Boston Bruins
Bruins lead series 3-1
Friday’s game was the first game of the series that didn’t go to overtime. Boston scored three goals in the third, winning 4-1 and putting the Bruins one win away from advancing to the next round. The Capitals looked tired and were completely outplayed by the Bruins.
Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2018, the Capitals have lost in the first round for the past two seasons. They certainly don’t want to make it a third. The Capitals won’t go down without a fight, literally and figuratively. But they just can’t seem to keep up with the Bruins for a full 60 minutes.
Prediction: Bruins win 3-1
Winnipeg Jets vs Edmonton Oilers
Jets lead series 2-0
In both games of the series, it seems like everyone has been waiting on the same thing: Connor McDavid. He’s getting chances; he’s had seven shots. But he has no points. In the regular season, he had 33 goals and 72 assists for 105 points in 56 games. If he can bring that energy into this series, Edmonton will win. Winnipeg doesn’t have a superstar like McDavid.
Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck has been standing on his head this series. He has a goals-against-average of 0.48 and a save percentage of .986. But not even Hellebuyck can stand in McDavid’s way once he gets on a roll. He’s due for a breakout game.
Prediction: Oilers win 3-1
Nashville Predators vs Carolina Hurricanes
Hurricanes lead series 2-1
Nashville won its first game of the series in double overtime Friday night thanks to Matt Duchene, surely giving them momentum heading into Game 4.
Carolina won the first two games of the series by three goals and shut out Nashville in the second game. Coming off a double-overtime win, the Predators should be able to keep Game 4 a bit closer than the first two games.
However, the Hurricanes are a better team. Both Carolina goalie Alex Nedeljkovic and Nashville goalie Juuse Saros have been good, Nedeljkovic has been better. So has the Hurricanes’ offence. Forward Sebastian Aho leads Carolina with five points in three games, while Nashville’s leaders, Filip Forsberg and Ryan Ellis, have three points.
Expect the Hurricanes to come up out on top and crush the Predators’ momentum.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 3-2
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