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 Boston Bruins vs Tampa Bay Lightning.
NHL Predictions Featuring Boston Bruins vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Boston Bruins vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head-to-Head: Bruins 0-0 Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning are coming off a 4-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. The Lightning have been without forwards Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, but still have 30 points in 22 games. Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman are both averaging a point a game or more. Stamkos has 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points in 21 games, and Hedman has five goals and 17 assists for 22 points in 22 games.
The Boston Bruins are coming off a 2-0 win over the Nashville Predators. The Bruins have 24 points in 20 games. As usual, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron are leading the way. Marchand has nine goals and 15 assists for 24 points in 18 games, Pastrnak has eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points in 20 games and Bergeron has eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points in 20 games.
Both teams have some talented forwards, but the defending Stanley Cup champs are putting up an average of 3.2 goals, while the Bruins are averaging 2.95.
Prediction: 3-2 Lightning.
Florida Panthers vs St. Louis Blues
Head-to-Head: Panthers 0-0 Blues
The Blues lost their last game and have been without forward Tyler Bozak, defenceman Justin Faulk and starting goaltender Jordan Binnington, who are in COVID-19 protocol, and forwards James Neal, David Perron and Klim Kostin, who are injured. The Blues have been led by their young talent so far. Jordan Kyrou leads the team in points with 23 and Robert Thomas is right behind him with 22.
The Florida Panthers are also dealing with quite a few injuries, including captain Aleksander Barkov and forward Anthony Duclair. But, they are on a two-game winning streak and are one of the best teams in the league with 35 points in 23 games. Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad top the team in points, with 28 and 23, respectively.
Prediction: 4-2 Panthers.
Ottawa Senators vs Colorado Avalanche
Head-to-Head: Avalanche 1-0 Senators
The Ottawa Senators are coming off a big 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, but are still the worst team in the league with only 11 points in 21 games. They are dealing with a few injuries to Shane Pinto, Colin White, Josh Brown, and Erik Brannstrom. Their leading scorers are Drake Batherson, who has 17 points in 16 games and Joshua Norris, who has 15 points in 21 games.
The Colorado Avalanche just completed a win over the Montreal Canadiens. While they probably aren’t playing as well as they would like to, Nazem Kadri is having a breakout season with 30 points in 20 games. If he keeps up that pace, he’ll have a new career high in points. The Avalanche also have Gabriel Landeskog and Cale Makar with 20 or more points, all more than Ottawa’s leading scorer.
Prediction: 4-1 Avalanche.
Nashville Predators vs Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Canadiens 1-0 Predators
The Predators lost their last game. While they are only two games above .500, that is certainly better than the Canadiens, who are 11 games under .500. The Predators are led by Mikael Granlund, Matt Duchene, and Roman Josi, who all have 20 or more points in 23 games.
The Canadiens have lost their past two games and are one of the worst teams in the league. The team that made a run to the Stanley Cup Final last season has dealt with a lot of adversity, including being without starting goaltender Carey Price, captain Shea Weber, defenceman Joel Edmundson and more. Tyler Toffoli and Nick Suzuki are still bright spots, each leading the team with 15 points in 25 games.
Prediction: 3-2 Predators.
Minnesota Wild vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Head-to-Head: Wild 0-0 Maple Leafs
The Minnesota Wild have won their past five games and have 33 points in 23 games, one of the best records in the NHL. The player with the most points for either of these two teams is the Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov. He has nine goals and 19 assists for 28 points in 23 games. Ryan Hartman is second with 21 points.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have also won their past five games and have 35 points in 24 games, also one of the best records in the NHL. The Maple Leafs’ player with the most points is John Tavares, who has 25 points in 23 games. The Leafs also have William Nylander, Auston Matthews, and Mitch Marner, who all have 20 or more points.
It could be a close game with many talented players on both sides, but Toronto has been slightly better and has more offensive firepower than Minnesota so far this season.
Prediction: 4-3 OT Maple Leafs.