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 Pittsburgh Penguins vs Calgary Flames.
NHL Predictions: November 29th with Pittsburgh Penguins vs Calgary Flames
Seattle Kraken vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Kraken 1-0 Sabres
Buffalo hosts the Kraken for the second, and final, game of this season series. In the first game, back on November 4th, the Kraken won 5-2 at home. The Sabres will be hoping to get back to winning ways in their attempt to even up the season series.
Both teams are struggling on the season, with Buffalo sporting an 8-10-3 record and Seattle sitting at 7-13-1 respectively. These come with much different expectations, as Buffalo wasn’t even expected to be that good and Seattle was coming with high hopes.
Both teams are struggling to score in their last 10 games, with Buffalo sitting at 2.81 goals/game (18th) and Seattle at 2.76 (21st). This also doesn’t change when you look at their defensive play, with Buffalo allowing 3.33 goals/game (28th) and Seattle at 3.48 (29th). This game could easily go either way, but with how Tage Thompson is playing as of late, the edge goes to Buffalo.
Prediction: Buffalo wins 4-2
Vancouver Canucks vs Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Canucks 0-0 Canadiens
The first meeting this season for these two teams sees them enter the game with a combined 12 wins on the season. You read that right, both teams have won six games respectively. Needless to say, neither team is performing well in virtually any respect.
In the last 10 games for Vancouver, they have gone 2-7-1, primarily due to the fact that they’re only scoring 2.29 goals/game (29th), their powerplay is operating at 63.6% (32nd), and their penalty kill is a dismal 15.5% in the last 10. Montreal is much the same, with all of their statistics in the bottom of the league – this includes the fact that they’re allowing 3.61 goals/game in the last 10 and the same for the season, only better than the Ottawa Senators.
This game is as close to a toss-up as it could get.
Prediction: Montreal wins 3-1
Arizona Coyotes vs Winnipeg Jets
Head-to-Head: Coyotes 0-0 Jets
In their first matchup of the season, Winnipeg is hosting the Arizona Coyotes. This is, at least on paper, the most straightforward prediction of the day.
Neither of these teams has been playing well as of late. Arizona is on a two-game losing streak and is 4-5-1 in their last 10. The same goes for Winnipeg, who got themselves out of their losing ways with a convincing 4-2 win over the Calgary Flames on November 27th.
Prediction: Winnipeg wins 3-1
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Penguins 0-1 Flames
For the featured matchup of the day, it is the Pittsburgh Penguins vs Calgary Flames. Both are coming off a loss in their last game. Despite that, they are having solid seasons respectively and have plenty to be pleased about.
Both teams have been nothing short of staunch defensively this season. The Penguins are allowing 2.67 per game (7th) and the Flames are allowing 2.00 per game (1st). To build off that, they have also been equally as impressive on the penalty kill. The Penguins are operating at 90.9% on the season and the Flames are at 88.2%. This puts them first and second respectively in the NHL.
These defensive statistics are, in large part, due to the play of their respective netminders. The Flames are getting nothing short of stellar play from their goaltenders this season. Jacob Markstrom is 8-4-4 on the season with a 1.81 goals-against average, a .937 save percentage, and a league-leading five shutouts on the year. Behind him is Daniel Vladar, who is having an impressive season in his own right. Vladar is currently 4-0-1 on the season with a 1.57 goals-against-average, a .946 save percentage, and two shutouts of his own.
In the other net, Tristan Jarry has been heavily relied on this season and has exceeded the already high expectations set on him. Jarry has posted a 10-4-3 record with a 1.91 goals-against average, a .936 save percentage, and three shutouts, which is tied for second-most in the NHL.
Goaltending should be a wash, as both should perform admirably. With that being said, the difference should be made by their playmakers. Look for Andrew Mangiapane to continue his impressive scoring run on the season.
Prediction: Calgary wins 3-2