Welcome back to NHL Predictions, June 5th 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 and only slate of NHL Predictions for June 5th, featuring the Carolina Hurricanes vs Tampa Bay Lightning.
NHL Predictions: Carolina Hurricanes vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Carolina Hurricanes vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Series: Hurricanes 1 – 2 Lightning
On Thursday, the Carolina Hurricanes won a crucial game to prevent the Tampa Bay Lightning from going up 3-0. With just one win now separating the two teams, the Hurricanes will look to even out the series, while the Lightning will try to widen their lead.
Carolina benefited from a major change in net for the last game. Prior to then, rookie goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic had backstopped the Hurricanes in all eight of their 2020-21 playoff games. Though he was far from bad in the first game against Tampa Bay, two goals on 15 shots in the next contest were enough to convince Carolina to switch to Petr Mrazek for the third. The change paid off, as Mrazek stopped 35 of 37 shots. And, even more importantly, the Hurricanes rediscovered their scoring touch, netting three goals to negate the two the Lightning did get past Mrazek.
Tampa Bay is facing similar struggles with scoring. Brayden Point and Alex Killorn have two goals each through three games, and both found the back of the net last night. However, other key players like Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov, and Steven Stamkos have been held goalless by Carolina. Scoring twice in a game might have been enough to outlast the Hurricanes in the first two contests, but now that Carolina has settled in, it’ll be hard for the Lightning to pull off another win without more production from their offence.
Prediction: Hurricanes win, 3-2
Boston Bruins vs New York Islanders
Series: Boston Bruins 2 – 1 New York Islanders
Similar to the Lightning, the Boston Bruins enter tonight’s game looking to claim a 3-1 lead. On the other hand, the New York Islanders need to bounce back in order to keep themselves in the series.
In Thursday’s contest, both teams’ stars put on a show. For the Islanders, Mathew Barzal netted a wraparound goal to tie the game at one and force overtime. On the Bruins’ end, Brad Marchand sealed the win with his second overtime goal of the playoffs.
Though the Islanders fought hard last game, tonight’s contest likely won’t be so close. They’ve been heavily outshot throughout the series, and though Semyon Varlamov’s goaltending has been excellent thus far, he can’t be expected to hold up forever. With Tuukka Rask and a dangerous forward group, Boston is more than a match for the Islanders. Expect the Bruins to extend their series lead tonight.
Prediction: Bruins win, 3-1
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