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 Anaheim Ducks vs Pittsburgh Penguins.
NHL Predictions with Anaheim Ducks vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Lightning 1 – 0 Senators
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators last squared off against one another on November 6th, where the Lightning came out victorious 5-3.
The Lightning are rolling as of late. Looks to be that the double Stanley Cup hangover is wearing off. They are winners of five straight and are 11-2-1 in their last 14. AND they are continuing to do this all without star forward, Nikita Kucherov. Remember how well that went for the Lightning last year? Other teams around the league must be getting worried that Tampa is finding their groove.
Ottawa has had a tumultuous season. They’ve had two separate six-game losing streaks, dealt with game postponements due to COVID-19, and have been marred with an array of injuries. But the Sens rattled off a trio of one-goal victories against some formidable opponents before falling 5-3 to the New York Islanders on Tuesday.
The winning streak was nice but the losing streaks look to be more Ottawa’s style this season.
Prediction: Tampa Bay wins 5-1
Montreal Canadiens vs St. Louis Blues
Head-to-Head: Canadiens 0 – 0 Blues
Tonight will be the first matchup of the season between the Montreal Canadiens and St. Louis Blues.
The Canadiens have yet to figure out their goal-scoring woes. Montreal ranks 30th in power play and 29th in goals-for per game with a measly 2.18. Now the Canadiens have shown they can score in bunches, as proved by two 6-3 wins against the Penguins and Nashville Predators. But those games come far and few between.
The Blues, when healthy, would be salivating at this matchup. St. Louis has been scoring at will this season and has backed it up with a respectable 2.81 goals-against per game. But the Blues aren’t healthy. They are without starting netminder, Jordan Binnington, set-up man Robert Thomas, veterans Tyler Bozak and David Perron, and defenceman Justin Faulk.
That’s a lot of sweaters out for the Blues. Montreal might just find a way to grind out a win against this depleted squad.
Prediction: St. Louis wins 3-2 OT
Washington Capitals vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Capitals 1 – 0 Sabres
The Washington Capitals outdueled the Buffalo Sabres last month 5-3. In tonight’s game, we get a high-flying Capitals offence looking to take advantage of a depleted Sabres crease.
The Buffalo Sabres have had a carousel of goalies entering their crease this year. Over 26 games they have had five different netminders start for them. Prospect Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen provided a quality start for Buffalo, turning aside 29 of 31 shots in the hard-fought 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers.
The Capitals, who lost to the Penguins 4-2 yesterday, will look to take advantage of Buffalo who is also playing on a back-to-back. Buffalo is 0-4 in the second part of back-to-backs this season. To counter, the Capitals are 2-1 on the back-to-backs this year. A starter hasn’t been named yet but due to playing on consecutive nights, Aaron Dell will most likely get the start for Buffalo. If the Sabres want any chance in this game though they should go against the norm and play Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen on consecutive nights. This one could get ugly for Buffalo if they decide to start with the former.
Prediction: Washington wins 5-1
Anaheim Ducks vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Head-to-Head: Ducks 0 – 0 Penguins
Is anyone sick of watching the Trevor Zebras highlight yet? Ya didn’t think so. The “Michigan Assist” as it has been dubbed, caught the hockey world by surprise the other night, and people are going crazy for it. The ingenious move saw Trevor Zegras pick up the puck from behind the net as if to do “the Michigan” but instead of carrying it to the goal, he lofted the puck over the net like an alley-oop to Sonny Milano who batted it in.
So what will be in store of tonight’s featured game between these crafty Ducks and the Pittsburgh Penguins?
Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby has put on plenty of spectacular performances during his illustrious career so far. The future Hall of Famer has found his legs after a delayed start to his season. Crosby has three goals and 10 assists in his last seven games, helping to propel the Penguins out of the bottom of the Metropolitan Division and into the first Wildcard spot.
On the other side of the country, the Anaheim Ducks, led by their young stars, are seeing plenty of early-season success. Their current two-game winning streak has leapfrogged them over the Edmonton Oilers in the Pacific Division standings for second place. The Ducks offence is being driven by the trio of young forwards, Troy Terry, Sonny Milano, and Trevor Zegras. Coach Dallas Eakins has all the trust in his young core and lets them run each night. It has been a recipe for success for the upstart Ducks.
Tonight lines up to be the most exciting game on the docket. Anaheim Ducks vs Pittsburgh Penguins is can’t miss hockey. Luckily the game is in Pittsburgh, so now everyone, whether on the east coast or west coast, can tune in at a reasonable hour to take part in the weekend’s featured matchup.
Prediction: Pittsburgh wins 4-3 OT