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 Toronto Maple Leafs vs Winnipeg Jets.
NHL Predictions With Toronto Maple Leafs vs Winnipeg Jets
San Jose Sharks vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Head-to-Head: Sharks 0 – 0 Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets enter this game aiming to snap their five-game losing streak. The San Jose Sharks have also looked a bit shaky as of late, dropping a game to the New York Rangers and just barely pulling off an overtime win over the New York Islanders.
Timo Meier has been sharp through the Sharks’ last five games, with four goals and and two assists. For Columbus, goaltending will be the most interesting storyline. With Joonas Korpisalo still out due to illness, either Daniil Tarasov or Elvis Merzlikins will get the start. Tarasov did well enough in his first NHL game, putting up a .919 save percentage, but it remains to be seen how he – or a still-recovering Merzlikins – will fare. As such, the Sharks will have the edge in this game.
Prediction: Sharks win, 3-2
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Philadelphia Flyers
Head-to-Head: Lightning 2 – 0 Flyers
Tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers will collide for the third time in as many weeks. While the Lightning have been holding onto a solid third place in the Atlantic Division, the Flyers are dropping rapidly due to a seven-game losing streak.
Both teams have suffered the loss of key players. For the Flyers, Joel Farabee went down with an upper-body injury on Wednesday, and top defenceman Ryan Ellis remains out. For the Lightning, star forwards Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov are sidelined with long-term injuries. Still, Tampa Bay has stayed afloat in their absence, with others like Steven Stamkos stepping up. Philadelphia has not been nearly as successful, struggling both offensively and defensively. Consequently, this game is shaping up to be a repeat of the last two.
Prediction: Lightning win, 3-0
Chicago Blackhawks vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Blackhawks 0 – 1 Islanders
The first game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the New York Islanders went the Islanders’ way, 4-1. But since then, the Blackhawks have improved somewhat, while the Islanders’ season has taken a turn for the worse.
Though Chicago isn’t winning consistently yet, their goaltending currently looks decent. Marc-Andre Fleury has a solid .919 save percentage on a season and logged a .952 save percentage against the San Jose Sharks last Sunday. Kevin Lankinen saved 23 of 25 shots in his last start. For the Islanders, scoring struggles have abounded. The Islanders have not logged more than two goals in a game in just over a month, with numerous injuries and a COVID outbreak only compounding the problems. Given the Islanders’ recent issues, expect a Blackhawks win tonight.
Prediction: Blackhawks win, 2-0
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Winnipeg Jets
Head-to-Head: Maple Leafs 0 – 0 Jets
The Toronto Maple Leafs meet the Winnipeg Jets for the first time this season in tonight’s matchup. The Maple Leafs have been heating up, currently sitting near the top of the league. On the other hand, the Winnipeg Jets have had a more average season thus far. They are in the middle of the pack in both Central Division and NHL standings.
Auston Matthews has been the Maple Leafs’ foremost offensive weapon in their recent wins. On a four-game point streak through Wednesday’s contest against the Colorado Avalanche, he recorded six goals and an assist. Conversely, the Jets as a team have been struggling with dependable scoring. They did pick up an 8-4 win over the New Jersey Devils on Friday, in which Mark Scheifele logged his fourth career hat trick. However, they were also recently shut out by the Arizona Coyotes and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Though the Jets’ season has been decent as a whole, their recent results have been very up-and-down. At this point, they haven’t demonstrated enough consistency to put forth a convincing case for toppling one of the league’s best teams. Expect the Maple Leafs to keep rolling with another win in this game.
Prediction: Maple Leafs win, 5-2
Los Angeles Kings vs Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Kings 0 – 0 Oilers
Pacific Division rivals meet as the Los Angeles Kings take on the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers are in second in division standings, while the Kings sit at sixth.
For Edmonton, offence is key. They’ve averaged almost four goals – but with three goals against – through the last six games. As per usual, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have been firing on all cylinders, combining for 22 points during the aforementioned stretch. For Los Angeles, Alex Iafallo has three goals in the last two games. Troy Terry has also continued to be productive, with three goals through the last five. Nevertheless, the Oilers’ elite forwards are just too good to bet against.
Prediction: Oilers win, 4-3
Calgary Flames vs Vegas Golden Knights
Head-to-Head: Flames 0 – 0 Golden Knights
Another two Pacific Division teams face off as the Calgary Flames and Vegas Golden Knights meet for the first time this season. Calgary sits atop the division standings, while Vegas is in fifth. Both teams enter tonight’s contest fresh off victories, with the Flames holding a three-game win streak.
Johnny Gadreau has been productive for Calgary, recording five points through his last five games. The Flames have also benefitted from excellent goaltending – Jacob Markstrom and Daniel Vladar both have .939 percentages, on the season. On Vegas’ end, Max Pacioretty has three goals and three assists through the last four games, and Mark Stone has a goal and four assists. But the Flames have been strong, while the Golden Knights’ results have been fluctuating. Calgary should take this one.
Prediction: Flames win, 4-2