NHL Predictions: December 16 Including Colorado Avalanche vs Nashville Predators

Colorado Avalanche vs Nashville Predators
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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 Colorado Avalanche vs Nashville Predators 

NHL Predictions With Colorado Avalanche vs Nashville Predators

Colorado Avalanche vs Nashville Predators

Head-to-Head: Avalanche 0-0 Predators

As these two teams clash at Bridgestone arena, both teams are looking to extend their win streak to six games. The Nashville Predators have dug themselves out of a hole and into a playoff spot ultimately thanks to their top-six forward group and impressive team defence. The biggest positive surprise has been Matt Duchene who has 25 points in 26 games. Last season he had 13 points in 34 games so he has definitely turned up the heat as he should be paid 8 million a year. The pleasant surprise on the Avalanche has been Nazem Kadri. The former Maple Leaf has 37 points in 23 games. This projects to 131 points in 82 games. The Avalanche have finally looked like themselves after a worrisome start to the season. In three of their last five games, they’ve scored seven goals three times. Their offence is something all teams should be scared of. The whole ice is their playground in the offensive zone. If the Predators can suppress all chances against them as they’ve done well this season they should have a solid chance against Cale Makar and the streaking Colorado Avalanche.

Prediction: Avalanche win 5-3

Boston Bruins vs New York Islanders

Head-to-Head: Bruins 1-0 Islanders

After a less than stellar start to their season, the New York Islanders will look to bounce back after a tight loss to the Red Wings with a win over the Bruins. The Bruins have turned into the 2019 Islanders being one of the best defensive teams in the NHL. The negative for the Bruins is they have no depth and below-average goaltending this year. These two teams are alike in the sense of depth. This will be either an open high scoring game or a super tight one-goal game. Both teams don’t generate really any offence whatsoever being middle of the pack in expected goals for per game (xGF/60). If you’re weighing pros and con’s we can say that the Bruins have the edge in offence and defence. Ilya Sorokin will be what’s preventing the Bruins from finishing on any of their chances. The young Russian is the primary reason the Isles have won a single game this year. Without him, they’d be in worse shape than they are now. It will be a battle of the special teams in this one with Boston having a top 10 powerplay and the Islanders having a top 10 penalty kill. With the play of top pair Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk with a hint of average goaltending, the Bruins should be able to pull off a win to move back into a playoff spot.

Prediction: Boston wins 3-1

Buffalo Sabres vs Minnesota Wild

Head-to-Head: Sabres 0-0 Wild

The Sabres are going to have their hands full as they face off against the juggernaut Minnesota Wild. Although the Wild are a top team in the NHL the Sabres are not a team you can take lightly. With a breakout season from Tage Thompsonand a top coach in Don Granato, the Sabres have been a team based on heart and work ethic. The Wild on the other hand excels in basically every category. Minnesota is a very high play-driven team whereas Buffalo is not. Minnesota is likely a regression candidate but they’ll still be a top team even after some slight regression in their finishing abilities. The one area Buffalo could excel in versus Minnesota is their ability to finish their chances. Minnesota hasn’t had very good goaltending whereas the Sabres have scored one more goal than expected due to their finishing ability. Overall Minnesota is the better team offensively, defensively, and in the net.

Prediction: Wild win 4-3

Columbus Blue Jackets vs Edmonton Oilers

Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 0-0 Oilers

After a disappointing loss to the Canucks and having to listen to “Bruce there it is” chants, the Blue Jackets look to take down a struggling Oilers team on their Western road trip. The Oilers are finally starting to feel the impacts of their poor decision-making in the off-season. Consistently they don’t have enough depth. They start the season hot and then slow down due to the huge load on the big two who don’t need to even be named anymore. The Blue Jackets aren’t a top defensive or offensive team but they have the tools to beat this Oilers team. As they hunt down a playoff spot we’ve started to see Max Domi heat up. Other than Domi the Blue Jackets have been blessed with Oliver Bjorkstrand and Jakub Voracek who are both playing well putting up points. In net, both teams are rather average. There’s a very good chance for a high-scoring game here. If Columbus can handle Leon Draisitl and Connor McDavid while putting up some goals they should have a decent chance of winning this game. being a few games back and out of the playoff race, you know this team is hungry for a win. Although Columbus can win this game I give Edmonton the edge due to their powerplay and ability to generate high danger chances.

Prediction: Edmonton wins 6-3

Vancouver Canucks vs San Jose Sharks

Head-to-Head: Canucks 0-0 Sharks

On a hot streak, the Vancouver Canucks will be hungry vs San Jose with new head coach Bruce Boudreau. After a comeback win against Columbus on Tuesday, the Canucks are firing on all cylinders under new management. The Sharks have been one of the surprising teams in the weak pacific division this year. Although they’ve regressed from the start of the year they’re getting an almost Norris calibre season from actual former Norris trophy winner Erik Karlsson. San Jose isn’t an overwhelming offensive team but they’re great at suppressing any chances against which leads to their primary offence against coming from the blue line. These shots are known to have a very low percentage of going in. In addition to being good defensively, James Reimer has had a stellar season as a 33-year-old on a team-friendly contract. Both these teams have had good goaltending throughout the year which will likely maintain in this pacific division matchup. With the weak blue line the Canucks have and the defensive play of the Sharks I’d say if San Jose can put a few pucks in the net they should be able to end the Canucks magical winning streak.

Prediction: San Jose wins 3-1

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