Welcome back to another day of NHL Predictions. Each day, Last Word on Hockey takes a look at the games that are happening and gives our predictions for each one. Breaking down head-to-head and other factors that may play in. We also have a featured game of the day, which is considered must-watch TV. Today’s featured game is the New York Rangers vs Calgary Flames.
NHL Predictions with New York Rangers vs Calgary Flames
Vegas Golden Knights vs Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Golden Knights 0 – 0 Canadiens
The Golden Knights march into the Bell Centre as winners of four of their last five games. They are doing this without star forwards Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty. Also, they’ve managed to be .500 on the season without having converted on a single power play this season. Call them lucky or call them… lucky. I’m not sure what to make of this team but Vegas will face the 29th ranked PK in the league. So perhaps the PP drought ends tonight. The Golden Knights have only lost to a sub .500 team once this year, but I think Montreal makes that two on the year.
Nick Suzuki is heating up with eight points in his last five games and the news of Price returning to the team (even though he’s not dressing) ought to provide a boost for the Habs. In my last prediction, I took the Golden Knights to win and was wrong, and the Canadiens to win and they did. So let’s go with what’s tried and true.
Prediction: Montreal wins 3-2
Seattle Kraken vs Arizona Coyotes
Head-to-Head: Kraken 0 – 0 Coyotes
Arizona and its fans are going through a tough stretch right now. The only bright spot for the team is Coyotes goaltender Karel Vejmelka, who has played incredibly well given what’s in front of him. He has a 2.54 GAA and .922 SV% but is still winless in his six starts. At some point, the ‘Yotes need to give this guy some ‘run support’. The leading scorer on Arizona is a bottom-six grinder, Lawson Crouse, with four points in 10 games. Tough look.
The Kraken are still trying to find their way and gel as a team. The top line is being led by Jaden Schwartz, who has seven points in his last five games. And after going goalless in his first six games, Jordan Eberle now has five in his last five, including a hat-trick against the Sabres Thursday night. The Coyotes are on a back-to-back and the winless streak can’t last forever… or can it? I believe Arizona takes a split this weekend with the win coming against the Kraken.
Prediction: Arizona wins 2-1
New Jersey Devils vs San Jose Sharks
Head-to-Head: Devils 0 – 0 Sharks
From one edge of the country to the exact opposite side, the New Jersey Devils make their once-a-year trip to the Golden State. What may have looked to be an easy road trip against three rebuilding clubs, looks anything but. The three-game road swing started with a shutout loss to the Ducks. They are coming into this game off a back-to-back against the upstart Kings, so they could be a tired squad going into the ‘Shark Tank’.
San Jose has seems to have every part of their lineup firing these days. James Reimer is playing inexplicably well, putting up a ridiculous stat line of 1.54 goals-against average and .950 save percentage over four starts. Brent Burns is looking more like his former self, and Thomas Hertl and Logan Couture are pacing the way on offence. On the flip-side, the Sharks currently have seven players sidelined due to Covid-19 protocols, including Erik Karlsson, Kevin Labanc, and leading scorer Timo Meier. A healthy Sharks lineup would outclass the Devils, who are on the tail end of their big road trip, but this could be just what the Devils need to get a big two points on the road. With that many starters out, I’ve got to lean towards the Devils.
Prediction: Devils win 4-3 in overtime
New York Rangers vs Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Rangers 0 – 1 Flames
Our featured matchup of the late games will be the Rangers vs the Flames. Both teams are off to fantastic starts and with both squads jockeying for the first position in their respective divisions, this clash of the titans has all the ingredients to be can’t miss hockey. The last time these two teams met, the Flames beat the Rangers 5-1 with Andrew Mangiapane scoring twice. So the Rangers are looking for revenge. Though it will be tough coming off playing a game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Both these squads have goalies who are playing lights-out. Jacob Markstrom’s play is night and day compared to what it was last year. The Flames netminder has already completely blanked the opposition three times in his eight starts. The Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin has been equally impressive with a 1.85 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage to go with his lone shutout.
Adam Fox has been brilliant on the backend for New York. His Norris-winning play has carried through to this season. He has been getting the puck to his forwards in stride and in high-quality scoring areas, which has helped teammate Chris Kreider be tied for 3rd in the league with seven goals.
Elias Lindholm of Calgary started the year with six goals in the first four games, but his stick has cooled as of late, only registering one goal in his five previous outings. He is however still chipping in offensively by dishing the puck to his teammates. He has four helpers in the last three games.
With both teams having weapons on offensive and stalwarts in net, this game could either be an offensive barn-burner or a battle of the netminders. Either way, it’s going to be must-watch hockey. I’m going to take the home team in this one.
Prediction: Flames win 3-2
Embed from Getty Images