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 Colorado Avalanche vs Toronto Maple Leafs.
NHL Predictions with Colorado Avalanche vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Philadelphia Flyers vs New York Rangers
Head-to-Head: Flyers 0 – 0 Rangers
This is the first of four meetings this season between these two teams. This will be the 21st game for each team in the season and so far, the Rangers have had a much better time than the Flyers. New York is nine points ahead and a lot of that has been because of stellar goaltending. Igor Shesterkin has started the year posting a 0.933 save percentage in 16 games so far. He has been near impossible to beat.
Carter Hart hasn’t been bad by any means either. He has a .920 save percentage which is up from the 0.877 save percentage he posted last year. However, despite the additions on defence, the Flyers have been brutal defensively. Granted, they have missed Ryan Ellis which was supposed to be their difference-maker. The Flyers have let the most shot attempts up at 5v5 per 60 minutes so far this year. They need to fix that and quick if they want any hope of turning this season around.
Prediction: Rangers win 5-2.
Seattle Kraken vs Detroit Red Wings
Head-to-Head: Kraken 0 – 0 Red Wings
The first meeting between the newest franchise and one of the most storied NHL franchises takes place tonight. Unfortunately, it may not be the most exciting thing in the world. The Kraken have struggled this year, which is to be expected for a normal expansion team. However, the reason that is may be surprising. Philipp Grubauer has been abysmal all year long and is actively costing the team games. Given he was the main piece they spent money on in free agency, he needs to be better.
The Red Wings started the year quickly and surprised some teams. They certainly don’t look like a bottom three team like many projected. Instead, they will likely be in the mid-’20s and feisty every night. Rookies Lucas Raymond and Mortiz Seider have both been incredible and make this team very easy to watch. Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi have also been great. Detroit did play last night so rest may be a factor here.
Prediction: Kraken win 4-3 in Overtime.
Vancouver Canucks vs Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Canucks 0 – 0 Senators
Two teams that have had a brutal two months so far this year. For Vancouver, fans are openly demanding their general manager be fired after another horrible start. However, Elias Pettersson not doing much of anything is a major concern too. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is playing better than expected and they are still struggling… It is ugly in Vancouver right now.
Another Canadian market taking heat right now is the Ottawa Senators. COVID has not helped anything, but this start has been brutal. They are the only NHL team not into double-digit points yet. Granted, that is mostly because of games played. They did just waive Matt Murray who makes 6.25 million for two more seasons after this one. Not saying it wasn’t the right move, but the lack of communication between the two parties is concerning. Either way, Ottawa will look to get two points here and it is likely Filip Gustavsson starts.
Prediction: Senators win 4-2.
Colorado Avalanche vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Head-to-Head: Avalanche 0 – 0 Maple Leafs
Two of the hottest teams in the NHL lately as the Avs are 7-2-1 in their last 10 and the Leafs are 9-1-0 including winning 14 of their last 16. Even better news, Nathan MacKinnon looks to make his return to the lineup tonight. The Avalanche have a very impressive record considering they have been missing their best player and have dealt with other injuries. A slow start has them fourth in their division but they are slowly making their way back and six points are now what separates first and fourth. Their defence core is just as strong as the offence, boasting names like Cale Makar, Devon Toews, and Samuel Girard. This is a well-rounded team that will be a threat every night.
Toronto has had one of their best starts ever. After a shaky first 10 days or so it has been all gears forward. Jack Campbell has been amazing and showing he is a legit starter. Mitch Marner has started to find his game and the depth scoring is coming into play too. Even scarier, it feels like Auston Matthews is just starting to get going. The Leafs rank last in xGF vs actual goals scored. Meaning they have been one of the unluckiest teams offensively too this year by some analytical models. Pretty impressive for a 14-2-0 run. Look for this to be a tight game that has a bunch of action.
Prediction: Avalanche win 3-2 in Overtime.
Vegas Golden Knights vs Anaheim Ducks
Head-to-Head: Golden Knights 1 – 0 Ducks
The Golden Knights are starting to get some bodies back which is good news as they try and keep afloat in the Pacific division. Jack Eichel won’t be available for a while yet but getting Mark Stone back is huge. The Knights have managed to keep themselves in striking distance of the Ducks for the crucial third playoff spot. The top of the Pacific has two stronger teams than maybe originally expected, but the Knights look to make it three.
The Ducks have had a wonderful start to the year. Ryan Getzlaf has turned back the clock and is an assist machine. John Gibson finally looks healthy again and the amazing Gibson we have missed for a few years is back. And Troy Terry is lighting it up this year in what is a true breakout season. For a team that was expected to be near the bottom, they are looking to play hard every night and compete for a playoff spot.
Prediction: Golden Knights win 4-3.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Penguins 0 – Oilers 0
The Penguins have dealt with all kinds of injuries so far this season, including Sidney Crosby for most of the year and Evgeni Malkin for all of it. Despite this, they remain in a playoff spot and are just hanging around. Give credit to the organization as a whole as there is a culture installed thereof never giving up. Tristan Jarry finding his potential as a true solid started hasn’t hurt things either.
The Oilers continue to roll as Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are some of the most special players ever. Each night it seems like they combine for a minimum of four or five points. It is insane. They have lost Cody Ceci to the COVID list and Duncan Keith to the injured reserve list. It will be interesting to see what they do without those two in the lineup.
Prediction: Oilers win 6-3.