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 Minnesota Wild vs Dallas Stars.
NHL Predictions with Minnesota Wild vs Dallas Stars
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 1 – 0 Sabres
UPDATE: this game has been postponed as of earlier today.
Each of these teams has only two wins in their last 10 games, but at least for the Buffalo Sabres things are tending in a better direction. The Sabres have points in four straight and two wins in those four games. Points probably don’t matter too much for the Sabres at this point with their playoff chances already slim. But for a franchise that’s had a lot of rough moments over the past several years, they’ll take the wins when they can get them.
They’ll have a great chance to extend their point streak tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets are fresh off of two straight losses, with only one win in their last five. The Blue Jackets defence has been quite poor to the tune of surrendering an average of 3.36 goals-against per game. That’s good for 25th in the league. Things have really hit the skids lately, as they’ve given up 20 goals in their last five games.
The last time these team’s met, the Blue Jackets won 7-4. Recent trends suggest a different outcome this time around. Rasmus Dahlin has been excellent for the Sabres this season. He’s averaging more than 23:30 minutes a night – a career high – and has 18 points in 30 games. His even strength shot metrics are a little shy, but that’s more of a result of the state of his team, rather than his individual play. He’ll push the Sabres to victory tonight.
Prediction: Sabres win 5-3
Minnesota Wild vs Dallas Stars
Head-to-Head: Wild 1 – 0 Stars
This isn’t just an intriguing matchup because of the quality of teams and players involved, but also because of the similar situations each team has faced.
From the end of November to the beginning of December, the Dallas Stars played their way to nine wins in ten games. They were one of the hottest teams in hockey, but quickly found themselves in a major hole. They immediately rattled off five straight losses, a streak that ended on Saturday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. That stretch hurt the Stars in their climb up the standings and now they’re sixth in the Central. They’ll need a win tonight to avoid falling even further behind.
The Minnesota Wild find themselves in a similar spot. After an eight-game winning streak, they’ve now lost three in a row. Two of those losses came against inferior opponents in the Buffalo Sabres and the Los Angeles Kings. Minnesota’s superstar, Kirill Kaprizov, had gone quiet in those three losses, with only a single goal. He’s had 15 shots, which signals poor luck that could turn at any time.
There’s a good chance that happens tonight. The last time these teams played, Kaprizov landed himself on the scoresheet four times. He’ll step up tonight and prevent the Wild from falling in four straight.
Prediction: Wild win 4-2