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 Winnipeg Jets vs Minnesota Wild.
NHL Predictions with Winnipeg Jets vs Minnesota Wild
St Louis Blues vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: St Louis Blues 1-0 Chicago Blackhawks
This game brings together two division rivals that are struggling to find their footing this season. Both the Blackhawks and the Blues are coming off the back of a loss, making them 10-7-2 and 6-11-2 respectively. They have both have struggled for periods already this season, albeit one is seemingly out of their slump and one is currently in it.
For the Blackhawks, they started off the season 0-7-2 in October, a pitiful start by any standards. Since then they have sorted out some issues and are currently 6-4-0 in their last 10 games. This is, in large part, due to the play of Marc-Andre Fleury, Patrick Kane, and Alex DeBrincat.
On the other end of the ice, there isn’t much good to say recently for the Blues. In their last 10 games, they have gone 3-6-1. This slump has seen them loosen the grip they had on the Central Division out of the gates. If they are to win this one, which they should on paper, they will need to have Jordan Binnington play to the top of his abilities.
Prediction: St Louis wins 3-2
Carolina Hurricanes vs Philadelphia Flyers
Head-to-Head: Carolina 0-1 Philadelphia
This matchup looks to be a pretty clear answer, Carolina should come out on top. That being said, these two teams have already met once this season, with the Flyers pulling out a 2-1 win back on November 12th.
If Philadelphia is to pull off another win against one of the best teams in the league, they will have to fire on all cylinders. And for a team that is 3-4-3 in their last 10, it’s hard to see that happening. The Flyers have leaned heavily on the play of Carter Hart and Martin Jones, both of who are having good seasons thus far. But if they are to have any chance in this one, their goalie will need to get a bit of goal support, something which has not often come this season.
Much of the opposite can be said for the Hurricanes this season, who are second in the NHL currently. Carolina has three players operating at or around a point-per-game pace this season in Andrei Svechnikov (7-12-19), Sebastian Aho (8-10-18), and Tony DeAngelo (4-13-17) leading the way. On top of those performances, they are getting stellar play from goaltender Frederik Andersen – 11-3-0, 1.90 Goals-against-average, and a .936 save percentage – who is an early-season favourite for the Vezina Trophy.
Prediction: Carolina wins 5-1
New York Rangers vs Boston Bruins
Head-to-Head: New York 0-0 Boston
The New York Rangers vs Boston Bruins matchup could make for the most evenly matched and entertaining on the day’s docket – with arguments also being made for the featured game. These two teams have yet to meet this season, but both are performing at a high end.
Boston is 10-6-0 on the season, 7-3-0 in their last 10, and currently sits fifth in a very top-heavy Atlantic Division. Boston is going to rely heavily on the usual suspects in Brad Marchand (8-13-21), David Pastrnak (6-11-17), and Patrice Bergeron (7-8-15) to pull this one out. With the likelihood of a Jeremy Swayman start, the netminder will need goal support to outduel the likes of Igor Shesterkin.
As for the Rangers, they will likely be starting the aforementioned Shesterkin, especially after the last performance by Alexandar Georgiev, who was pulled from a tie game against Buffalo after allowing four goals on 18 shots. If the Rangers can score at their normal pace of 2.84 goals/game or higher, they should be able to pull this one out.
Prediction: New York wins 4-2
Ottawa Senators vs Anaheim Ducks
Head-to-Head: Ottawa 0-0 Anaheim
This matchup is a tale of two stories – one of surprise and one of continued sorrow.
The surprise of the season thus far is the Anaheim Ducks and their 10-7-3 record. The surprises abound in Anaheim, with breakout young player Troy Terry (12-10-22) leading the team in points thanks to a 16-game point streak. Outside of Terry, netminder John Gibson is having himself a quietly solid season as well. Gibson currently boasts a 9-5-0 record to boot with a 2.53 goals-against-average a .920 save percentage.
As for the Senators, there isn’t much to be happy about this season so far. At 4-12-1, 1-8-1 in the last 10, this is shaping up to be a season to forget. There has been some decent play from the likes of Brady Tkachuk (4-7-11, 14 games) and continued development from young forward Tim Stutzle (1-7-8). But when you have two goalies sporting save percentages sub-.900, you are going to find it hard to win games.
Prediction: Anaheim wins 4-1
Winnipeg Jets vs Minnesota Wild
Head-to-Head: Winnipeg 0-1 Minnesota
And now for the day’s featured matchup – the Winnipeg Jets vs Minnesota Wild. This one should play out to be quite the game to watch, even if it is half as high scoring as the previous 6-5 win by the Wild back on October 19th.
Despite the fact that Winnipeg currently finds themselves in a three-game losing streak, they are 9-6-4 on the season, good for third in the Central Division. This is, in large part, thanks to the scoring abilities of Kyle Connor (12-10-22), who is operating above a point-per-game, and Pierre-Luc Dubois, who also has 10 goals to his name in 19 games. If they are to get out of this losing streak, the supporting cast will have to put the biscuit in the basket a bit more.
As for the Wild, they don’t have any issues with scoring, currently being fifth in the NHL at 3.42 goals/game. Outside of young star forward Kirill Kaprizov (5-13-18, 19 games), they are scoring by committee. This is shown with Ryan Hartman (10 goals), Joel Eriksson Ek (8), and Marcus Foligno (7), with multiple others chipping in as needed.
The defining factor in this one is going to likely be the play of Connor Hellebuyck, who will likely start for Winnipeg. If he can stand on his head, the Jets could easily pull this one-off. But with Minnesota peppering goalies with an average of 33.2 shots/game, the nod in this prediction is going towards the Twin Cities.
Prediction: Minnesota wins 4-3
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