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 Florida Panthers vs Washington Capitals. Be sure to check out our other two sets of predictions.
NHL Predictions with Florida Panthers vs Washington Capitals
Florida Panthers vs Washington Capitals
Head-to-Head: Panthers 1-0 Capitals
It’s a battle of old Southeast Division rivals in this matchup of two of the top-three teams in the East. Florida won a 5-4 overtime game against Washington with Eetu Luostarinen goal. Anthony Duclair leads the team in goals with nine, but there’s been plenty of centre depth. Jonathan Huberdeau has six goals and 13 assists for the Panthers. Sergei Bobrovsky has had a revival this season with a .940 save percentage, 1.90 goals-against-average and nine wins. The Panthers have won four straight despite the loss of Aleksander Barkov. Florida will be playing back-to-back with Saturday’s game against the Seattle Kraken.
The ageless Alex Ovechkin is continuing to be awesome with 15 goals and 18 assists in his pursuit of Wayne Gretzky. Ilya Samsonov has three shutouts this season and a .920 save percentage along with a 2.22 goals-against-average. Washington has won three of its last five, including a 6-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. The Caps have hit the over in four of the last games over the last three seasons against the Panthers.
This game should live up to the hype, but Florida squeaks it out in overtime.
Prediction: Panthers win 4-3 in overtime.
New Jersey Devils vs Nashville Predators
Head-to-Head: Devils 0-0 Predators
It’s the first meeting of the season between the two teams in an early puck drop. (Note the early start times if you play daily fantasy or want some action.) New Jersey has lost three of its last four games, including a 3-2 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. Pavel Zacha is tops in goals with eight while Nico Hischier leads in assists with 10. Jonathan Bernier has a .916 save percentage and 2.48 goals-against average.
Nashville has won the last four games against New Jersey over the last three seasons. The Predators do have a game Saturday, so David Rittich could be given the start. Matt Duchene has had a bounce-back season with 12 goals and Mikael Granlund has 15 assists. Filip Forsberg has returned to the lineup and scored twice in Tuesday’s loss.
Nashville knows it has to get one win, especially playing the Colorado Avalanche Saturday.
Prediction: Predators win 4-2.
Vancouver Canucks vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Head-to-Head: Canucks 0-0 Blue Jackets
These teams are going in opposite directions as Vancouver has lost four of its last five and Columbus has won four of its last five. The Canucks are 26th goals for and goals allow and their penalty kill is dead-last. J.T. Miller is one of the lone bright spots with seven goals and 19 points.
The Jackets are coming off a 36-save shutout of the Winnipeg Jets by Elvis Merzlikins. Columbus does have a game on Saturday and that means Joonas Korpisalo could get a start in between the pipes. Boone Jenner leads with nine goals and Jakub Voracek has 15 assists.
Columbus has been defensively-sound and surprising while Vancouver needs help.
Prediction: Blue Jackets win 3-1.
Seattle Kraken vs Tampa Bay Lighting
Head-to-Head: Kraken 0-0 Lightning
Seattle is coming off a 2-1 upset of the Carolina Hurricanes thanks to Marcus Johansson. The Kraken have put together wins over the Capitals and Hurricanes in their last two. It will also be a big night for Yanni Gourde, who returns after winning two Stanley Cups with the Lightning. Seattle goes have a game Saturday that could affect the starting goalie choice.
Tampa has victories in four of its last five, including a 4-0 shutout of the Philadelphia Flyers. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 34 saves in the victory for his first shutout this season. Steven Stamkos has 10 goals and 12 points and Anthony Cirelli will get more chances to shine with Brayden Point out.
The Lightning continue to find ways to win, but the Kraken have been tough as of late.
Prediction: Lightning win 5-2.