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 St Louis Blues.
NHL Predictions Featuring Florida Panthers vs St Louis Blues
Carolina Hurricanes vs Winnipeg Jets
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 0 – 0 Jets
The Winnipeg Jets have been on an absolute goal fest as of late. The Jets have scored 14 goals in their last two games: eight against the New Jersey Devils and six on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Now the Jets have been a streaky team and right now they are feeling themselves. The win against the Devils didn’t bat many eyes but the win against Toronto was a statement game. Are the Jets finally settling into their own? It sure looks like the offence has.
The Hurricanes will provide another stiff test for the Jets. The ‘Canes were able to right the ship against the Buffalo Sabres to stop a three-game skid. Carolina is second in the league for goals against with a remarkable 2.26 GA/GP. They also boast the ninth-best goals-for with 3.26. They say defence wins you games. And when you pair it with a potent offence, it sure looks like a recipe for success.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 4-2
New York Rangers vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Rangers 1 – 0 Blackhawks
The New York Rangers waltz into the United Center tonight as one of the league’s hottest teams. Winners of 10 of their last 11, the Rangers are looking like the real deal in the Metropolitan Division as they sit just one point shy of the Washington Capitals for first in the division. The Rangers will be without the Vezina-type play of their starting Goalie, Igor Shesterkin. Shesterkin is still on the Injured Reserve list with a lower-body injury, so backup Alexandar Georgiev will get the start in this one. Georgiev played well in his last start versus the ‘Hawks. The Russian netminder made 25 saves en route to his teams’ 3-2 win. He will need to be sharp again to hold back Patrick Kane and the ‘Hawks.
Chicago’s Seth Jones has really turned it on after his slow start to the season. His plus/minus still sits at a less than desirable minus nine, but his offence has helped to drive the forward units each game. Jones’ 19 assists rank third amongst defencemen. He’s beginning to look a lot more like the player the Blackhawks hoped when they handed him that 76 million dollar contract in the summer. Chicago’s ability to move up the ice and catch teams on their heels has been in large part due to that first pass Jones can make out of the zone. Chicago will look to catch the Rangers flat-footed tonight and get a win at home.
Prediction: Rangers win 4-2
Minnesota Wild vs Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Wild 0 – 0 Oilers
If you haven’t watched many Minnesota wild games this year, this stat may come as a surprise. But the Wild have ranked ahead of the Edmonton Oilers in goals-for-per-game. The Wild don’t have the headliner names like Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl, but they do have one Kyrill Kaprizov, who is as hot as they come, with 11 points in his last five games (more than McDavid’s 10). The Wild are an offensively deep team. They boast 12 skaters with double-digit points this season compared to Edmonton’s seven.
The Oilers opened their six-game homestand with a demoralizing 5-1 loss to the LA Kings. The score was closer than that but a boarding major by McDavid at the end of the game opened the way for the Kings to pot three extra goals in the final three minutes. Still, Edmonton struggled all night to produce any quality chances against the Kings.
In terms of what both these teams have accomplished, they are pretty even. But the Wild are deeper and know that shutting down McDavid and Draisaitl almost all but shuts down the entire Edmonton offence. A task easier said than done, but one that a few teams have figured out thus far.
Prediction: Wild win 4-3 in OT
Calgary Flames vs San Jose Sharks
Head-to-Head: Flames 0 – 1 Sharks
The Calgary Flames wrap up their four-game road trip tonight against the San Jose Sharks. Calgary has enjoyed success against the other two California teams while on this trip and will look to make it a sweep in the Golden State. The Flames’ Andrew Mangiapane has 17 tallies in 25 games this season but has cooled to just two goals in his last six games. Luckily the first line for Calgary has been rolling, as every member of the top line has found the score sheet in the last three games.
San Jose will be in tough to stop the surging Flames. They do have the more formidable of defences for the California teams, so perhaps the Sharks prevent the Golden State sweep tonight. The Sharks have not fared well against teams above .500 this year though and this Flames club is a puck possession monster. The Sharks won’t get any easy opportunities to score tonight, so they will need to make the most of what they get. This looks to be a hard-fought, grind-it-out type game.
Prediction: Calgary wins 2-1
Florida Panthers vs St Louis Blues
Head-to-Head: Panthers 1 – 0 Blues
The Florida Panthers have become must-watch hockey this season. This talented team puts on a spectacle night after night. The Panthers lead the league in come-from-behind wins, and after a thrilling 5-4 come-from-behind win against Washington last week, they followed it up with yet another rallying effort to thwart the St. Louis Blues 4-3 in a shootout.
Florida has a mess of injuries to several key players but head coach Andrew Brunette has his club embracing the “next man up” mentality. A player who has embraced that most is forward Sam Reinhart, who has been red-hot as of late. After a slow start to his year, Reinhart has four goals and three assists in his last five games. Jonathan Huberdeau continues to lead the way for the Cats with 10 points in his last five.
With the plethora of skill and mental fortitude oozing through this roster, you can never count the Panthers out of a game, no matter how out of reach it may be. Closing out the ‘Cats is no easy task.
Just ask the opponent they are facing tonight. The St. Louis Blues led by one goal on three separate occasions in their last meeting, but couldn’t put it away, eventually falling in the shootout.
The Blues will be without their most efficient set-up man, Robert Thomas. He is set to sit this one out as he adheres to Covid-Protocols. Goaltender Ville Husso looks to get the nod for this one as Jordan Binnington still remains out under Covid-Protocols. Husso was under siege last game but still managed a career-high in saves with 48 in the loss. He will be in for another heavy workload tonight.
Prediction: Panthers win 4-3
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