NHL Predictions: December 18th Including Toronto Maple Leafs vs Vancouver Canucks

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Vancouver Canucks
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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 Toronto Maple Leafs vs Vancouver Canucks.

NHL Predictions With Toronto Maple Leafs vs Vancouver Canucks

Ottawa Senators vs Philadelphia Flyers

Head-to-Head: Senators 0 – 0 Flyers

Neither the Ottawa Senators nor the Philadelphia Flyers look particularly impressive. Each team hovers near the bottom of its respective division. However, the Senators have recently defeated strong opponents, including the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning. Joshua Norris, Brady Tkachuk, and Drake Batherson put up a combined nine goals and seven assists in those contests. On the Flyers’ end, the goaltenders have bounced back from a rough stretch. Carter Hart allowed just six goals on 111 shots in his last three starts, while Martin Jones recorded a .906 save percentage – his best since late November – in Philadelphia’s win over the Arizona Coyotes. Nevertheless, the Senators have defeated better teams than the Flyers. Unless Philadelphia can quickly turn things around after Thursday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa should get the win.

Prediction: Senators win, 4-2

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Vancouver Canucks

Head-to-Head: Maple Leafs 0 – 0 Canucks

On paper, this matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks is a lopsided one. The Maple Leafs sit solidly in second in the Atlantic Division, while the Canucks are seventh in the Pacific. However, Vancouver has been picking up steam with new coach Bruce Boudreau at the helm.

J.T. Miller has led the Canucks’ resurgence, with two goals and seven assists during the team’s current six-game winning streak. Through that stretch, netminder Thatcher Demko has been nothing short of spectacular, with a .959 save percentage and a 31-save shutout against the Los Angele Kings. For Toronto, Auston Matthews continues to shine. He has currently recorded points in 10 consecutive games – 13 goals and 5 assists. Jack Campbell has also been solid, stopping 35 of 36 shots in his last start and logging a .910 save percentage through his last five.

Though the Maple Leafs are among the league’s strongest teams, the Canucks eked out a win against the similarly-impressive Carolina Hurricanes earlier this week. Since then, they’ve only continued to build. If the Canucks continue to play up to the potential they have shown recently, there’s a good chance they’ll extend their streak tonight.

Prediction: Canucks win, 5-4

Los Angeles Kings vs Carolina Hurricanes

Head-to-Head: Kings 0 – 1 Hurricanes

The last time the Carolina Hurricanes and Los Angeles Kings met, Carolina, took the win in a high-scoring 5-4 game. Though not quite as dominant now as they were then, the Hurricanes are still in the running for the top of the Metropolitan Division. Conversely, the Los Angeles Kings are in fifth in the Pacific, looking to close the gap between themselves and the fourth-place Edmonton Oilers.

For the Hurricanes, Nino Niederreiter has been instrumental in recent wins. He scored two goals to help the team rebound against the Detroit Red Wings and has three goals and three assists through his last five games. For the Kings, Jonathan Quick‘s excellent goaltending has produced four wins and an overtime loss in his last five starts. He allowed just six goals on 152 shots during that stretch. Still, the Hurricanes – even when missing key players like Sebastian Aho due to COVID – are a formidable team. Carolina should get the victory in this one.

Prediction: Hurricanes win, 3-2

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