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 Columbus Blue Jackets vs Toronto Maple Leafs. Be sure to check out our late predictions as well.
NHL Predictions with Columbus Blue Jackets vs Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Islanders vs Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Islanders 0 – 0 Senators
Both teams are in desperate need of a win, but the Islanders really need a victory. The Isles have lost three straight since their COVID break while the Senators have won two straight. New York is dead-last in goals scored with 38 and Ottawa is 28th with 57.
Keep an eye on social media to see if Kieffer Bellows and Casey Czikas come out of the protocol. This game will be hard to gauge, but the Islanders find a way in a tight one.
Prediction: Islanders win 3-2 in a shootout.
Nashville Predators vs Detroit Red Wings
Head-to-Head: Predators 0-0 Red Wings
Both teams are a surprising fourth place in their respective divisions. Nashville has alternated wins and losses in their last five and it is a relative group with no major injuries. It’s been a feast or famine for the Predators, as they score in bunches when they win and struggle for goals when they lose. Matt Duchene leads the team in goals and Mikael Granlund has 21 assists this season.
The young Red Wings are turning heads thanks to Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond. Detroit has five straight wins and has been getting it done on both ends of the ice. Dylan Larkin is tops in goals with 10 while Seider is the leading assist man with 10.
Prediction: Predators win 4-2.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Lightning 0-0 Canadiens
It’s the Stanley Cup Final rematch we’ve been waiting for. However, these teams are going in opposite directions. Tampa Bay is still a contender while Montreal has cleaned house in the front office. The Lightning have wins in three straight, including a 7-1 rout of the Philadelphia Flyers. The usual suspects of Steven Stamkos (12 goals), Victor Hedman (21 assists) and Andrei Vasilevskiy (12 wins) are leading the way despite injuries to Brayden Point among others.
Montreal has lost four of its last five, including three in a row. The Habs have given up the most goals in the league with 98 and are near the bottom in power play (29th) and penalty kill (30th). Montreal can’t afford to give up silly penalties to Tampa Bay’s power play.
Prediction: Montreal has to get an early lead to stand a chance. Tampa is 11-2 over their Atlantic Division rivals over the last three years.
Prediction: Lightning win 5-1.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 0-0 Maple Leafs
It’s a rematch of the 2020 Stanley Cup qualifying round series. Columbus has been surprisingly good this season as many thought they’d struggle after an off-season of change. Elvis Merzlikins has been at the centre of that success with a 2.72 goals-against-average and .920 save percentage. Boone Jenner (11 goals) and Jakub Voracek (18 assists) lead the way on offence.
Toronto has lost two in a row after coming off a long winning streak. The Leafs put up a ton of goals as they’ve scored 80 for the seventh-most in the NHL. Auston Matthews has fired back up and leads the team in goals while John Tavares has 26 points. Jack Campbell is still putting up quality numbers with a .942 save percentage and 1.78 goals-against average. His advanced stats are also really good despite the last two losses.
The Leafs would like a win to help stem media saying what’s wrong with the team. Home cooking should help in this time.
Prediction: Maple Leafs win 4-2.
Anaheim Ducks vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Ducks 0-1 Sabres
It’s the final meeting of the season between the two teams as Buffalo won 4-3 in overtime in Orange County. Rasmus Asplund‘s OT goal sealed the victory, but the Sabres have had hard times since then. The surprising Ducks have won three out of the last five prior to Monday night’s game. Anthony Stolarz likely starts since John Gibson started Monday. Anaheim will be without Ryan Getzlaf, so Troy Terry will have to pick up the slack along with Sonny Milano and Trevor Zegras.
Back-to-back games are always tough to gauge, but the Ducks should get the win.
Prediction: Ducks win 3-1.