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 Edmonton Oilers vs Winnipeg Jets.
NHL Predictions With Edmonton Oilers vs Winnipeg Jets
Detroit Red Wings vs Dallas Stars
Head-to-Head: Red Wings 0 – 0 Stars
This is a battle of two teams that look somewhat destined to perform similarly in their respective divisions. The Dallas Stars currently sit sixth in the Central and haven’t shown much potential to rise any further. Their offence is anemic with a 29th ranked 2.39 goals per game, and their defence isn’t much better at a 22nd ranked 3.08 goals against per game. Their underlying numbers aren’t any better either. At this rate, the Stars definitely look like a lottery team. It’s been a disappointing fall after their Stanley Cup run just a couple of years ago.
The Detroit Red Wings, on the other hand, have shown a bit more promise. They have an 8-6-2 record (not including Nov. 15th’s results) and are performing better than many others have expected. The problem is that the Red Wings play in the difficult Atlantic Division. And although they are currently third, they have three more games played than the Lightning and the Bruins who trail them. It feels almost inevitable that both of those teams will catch up soon. The Red Wings can make that task a bit more difficult though, with a win tonight.
These are two teams headed in different trajectories. In that case, it’s probably smart to go with the team that is trending upwards with a bit more to play for. The Red Wings overcome a back-to-back and the road situation with an impressive win for a young team.
Prediction: Red Wings win 3-2
Washington Capitals vs Anaheim Ducks
Head-to-Head: Capitals 0 – 0 Ducks
Wait just a second, aren’t the Anaheim Ducks supposed to be rebuilding? Apparently not, as this team looks more than ready to compete. They’ve won seven games in a row and sit pretty at second in the Pacific Division. It’s understandable to be cautious as it is still early, but this team doesn’t have the usual pretender markings. Their goal differential is a wicked +13. Their expected goal rate at even strength is north of 50%, as are their shot attempts. To top it off, John Gibson has been absolutely stellar in net and Ryan Getzlaf is rejuvenated. The Ducks very well might be for real.
That’s going to pose an interesting challenge for the Washington Capitals. They also find themselves on a bit of a winning streak, having won four in a row. They are largely being led by the great Alex Ovechkin. He has eight points in his last five games, and 26 points in 15 games this season. That’s a pace of more than 140 points by season end. That’s probably an unlikely target, but even if he cools down a bit, he is still looking to have his best season since he was 24.
Ovechkin is playing some of the best hockey of his life, the Capitals are surging, and the Ducks are having their best month of hockey in years. Expect fireworks, a great hockey game between two unlikely opponents, and a Capitals win on the road.
Prediction: Capitals win 5-4
Carolina Hurricanes vs Vegas Golden Knights
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 0 – 0 Golden Knights
After a rocky start, the Vegas Golden Knights have finally found some footing. With an 8-2 record in their last 10, the team finally has some momentum. The team is getting healthier too with Mark Stone returning from injury the other night. For all of those who were hoping that Vegas may lay low for the year after acquiring Jack Eichel, with all of their injuries, those hopes appear dashed. The Golden Knights are starting to click and it’s at the right time, as they will face one of their stiffest tests of the season.
The Carolina Hurricanes will roll onto the strip with only two losses on the docket. They are 11-2, have a league-best goal differential of +20, and sit atop the Metropolitan Division. In fact, the Hurricanes were really only a Carter Hart masterpiece away from being 12-1. They are the best team in hockey and that’s just impossible to bet against at this time.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 3-2 in OT
Edmonton Oilers vs Winnipeg Jets
Head-to-Head: Oilers 0 – 0 Jets
Last season, when the playoffs arrived and the Canadian teams went to battle, it was the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers in round one. Most people expect a long, gruelling series with numerous back and forth battles. What we got was a complete series sweep. Connor Hellebuyck was excellent, the Oilers struggled to score, and the veteran Manitoba squad made quick work of Edmonton.
It was an embarrassment for the Oilers and one they haven’t forgotten. Tonight’s matchup between these two teams represents the first encounter since that playoff sweep. It comes at a time when both teams are rolling. The Oilers are 7-3 in their last 10, while the Jets are 7-1-2. Kyle Connor has four goals in his last five games, whereas Leon Draisaitl has six in his last five, with 11 points total.
On paper, the Oilers have the edge in offence, the Jets have the edge in defence, and somehow – based on this season’s stats alone – they appear close to a draw in goaltending.
Last year in the North Division, some of the best games were the battles between the Jets and the Oilers. This game should be no different, especially when you factor in the added emotion from last year’s playoffs and the addition of rabid Winnipeg fans. It’ll be close, but the Oilers are on the tail-end of a long road trip and the Jets are at home.
Prediction: Jets win 4-3 in OT
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