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 Boston Bruins vs Toronto Maple Leafs.
NHL Predictions with Boston Bruins vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Boston Bruins vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Head-to-Head: Bruins 0 – 0 Maple Leafs
This is the first meeting between Toronto and Boston since November 15, 2019. Despite not playing each other for nearly two years, Maple Leafs fans’ wounds bleed every time these two sides meet. However, that fanbase has a lot to look forward to coming into this game. The Maple Leafs are coming off an impressive late comeback win over the defending Stanley Cup champions and are now on a four-game win streak after struggling to start the year. Over that span, their stars Auston Matthews (5 points), Mitch Marner (7 points) and John Tavares (6 points) have found their stride. Quite timely as they head into this highly anticipated Saturday night matchup.
The Boston Bruins are on a winning streak of their own. They handed the Florida Panthers their first loss of the season and followed it up with a 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings – a game in which Patrice Bergeron scored four goals. Bergeron’s first four markers of the season tie him for the team lead in that regard with Brad Marchand, who assisted on each of them. Marchand has 12 points in eight games to start the year. With two-thirds of the “perfection line” rolling, you know it’s only a matter of time before David Pastrnak pulls his weight. Expect the trio to be a problem for the unstable Maple Leafs d-core to handle all game long. Buckle up for this one.
Prediction: Bruins win 4-3 in overtime
Colorado Avalanche vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Head-to-Head: Avalanche 0 – 1 Blue Jackets
The last matchup between these two sides was just three days ago at Ball Arena in Colorado. The Blue Jackets took advantage of a depleted Avalanche squad, winning the game 5-4 in overtime. The Avalanche were without Mikko Rantanen, Andre Burakovsky, Cale Makar, Valeri Nichushkin and Devon Toews. They managed to fight back and push the game into overtime thanks to the late-game heroics of Bowen Byram but still came up short. Tonight, the narrative will change. Rantanen, Burakovksy and Toews are all expected to make their return to the lineup, giving the Avalanche more offensive weapons than they had last game. Darcy Kuemper, who has won three of his last four games, is expected to get the start for this one after Jonas Johansson got the call on Wednesday.
The Blue Jackets are dealing with injury problems of their own as it was announced yesterday that they will be without the services of Patrik Laine for four-to-six weeks due to an oblique strain. Replacing Laine’s production will be a difficult task. He has 10 points in nine games to begin his first full season with the Blue Jackets. One player they will turn to will be the 21st overall pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft Yegor Chinakhov. In Laine’s absence, Chinakhov will be moved into the top-six on a line with Cole Sillinger and Jakub Voracek as he continues to search for his first NHL point.
Prediction: Avalanche win 4-1
Detroit Red Wings vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Red Wings 0 – 0 Sabres
The Red Wings and Sabres have both had a similar start to the season. Each exceeded expectations out of the gate but have since come back down to earth. Detroit, who is on a four-game skid, is coming off a blow-out 5-1 loss against the Bruins. They have only been able to score one goal over the past two games. That may have something to do with their captain Dylan Larkin being out of the lineup. He’s been away from the team for two games already for personal reasons and is not expected to return tonight. Rookies Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider along with 26-year-old Tyler Bertuzzi have combined for 28 points to start the year. They will need to generate offence if they are going to lead the Red Wings back in the win column.
The Sabres have lost their last three games in regulation. They too have had a significant piece missing from their lineup with leading scorer Victor Olofsson out for the last two games with a soft-tissue injury. Despite the losses, they’ve been able to score five goals over both games. Rasmus Asplund had a point in each of them and has six points in his last five. Along with Tage Thompson and Jeff Skinner, the top line will try to continue to build on their chemistry as the Sabres look for their first win in the official start of the post-Jack Eichel era.
Prediction: Sabres win 3-2
New York Islanders vs Winnipeg Jets
Head-to-Head: Islanders 0 – 0 Jets
The Islanders are set to play their ninth consecutive road game to start the season. In two weeks from now, they’ll finally play at the new UBS Arena. First, they have five more road games. Tonight, they’ll be in Winnipeg after drubbing the Montreal Canadiens 6-2 at the Bell Centre. Brock Nelson was the star of the show, scoring four goals to lead his team to the win. He comes into tonight’s game as the leading scorer for the Islanders, with six goals and two assists for eight points. Mathew Barzal, who has just four points this season, has six goals and two assists in six career games against the Jets.
The Jets are coming off their first back-to-back of the season. Their high-powered offence currently ranks in the top quarter of the league in goals for. They will look to break through the stingy defence of the Islanders, which ranks 31 in the league in goals against. Thanks to Covid issues and an early season carry-over suspension to Mark Scheifele, tonight will be just the fourth time the season that the top players of the Jets will all be in the lineup at the same time.
Prediction: Islanders win 3-1
Embed from Getty Images