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 Vegas Golden Knights vs Los Angeles Kings.
NHL Predictions with Vegas Golden Knights vs Los Angeles Kings
Montreal Canadiens vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head-to-Head: Canadiens 0-1 Lightning
We finally have live hockey games in the NHL to talk about and predict. Make sure you check out the injury reports before you plunk down money for a wager. Lineups are changeable and players are going in and out of COVID protocol. This also applies in setting your daily or standard fantasy lineups.
Normally a rematch of the Stanley Cup Final would have a little more hype around. However, the Canadiens have struggled hard this season. Montreal did score a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers in their last game on Dec. 16. Jake Allen is in protocol, so Samuel Montebeault might get the call.
Maxime Lagace could get a rare start in net for the defending champions. Both Andrei Vasilevskiy and Brian Elliott are in protocol, so that limits Tampa’s options. However, their list isn’t as long as the Canadiens. Anthony Cirelli is in protocol, but the two-time champs do have captain Steven Stamkos and can find depth from their endless talent pool.
Tampa has just a little more depth and should win this one.
Prediction: Lightning win 4-2.
Vegas Golden Knights vs Los Angeles Kings
Head-to-Head: Knights 0-1 Kings
It’s the first game at the newly-named Crypto.com Arena. Our featured game is a Pacific Division battle with the surging Knights coming to Southern California. The Kings won the previous meeting 6-2, earlier in the season.
Laurent Brossoit might be your starter after Robin Lehner‘s lower-body injury. Jonathan Marchessault leads the team in goals with 14 while Chandler Stephenson is tops in assists with 22. Vegas could be without Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone, so there will be some lineup experimentation. Players like Brett Howden also just entered protocol and that means Vegas is dealing with COVID as well as traditional injuries.
Los Angeles hasn’t played since its Dec. 19 win over the Washington Capitals. Dustin Brown is among the players in protocol for the Kings, but hopefully some will be back. Adrian Kempe leads the Kings in goals with 12 and Anze Kopitar has 18 assists so far this season. Jonathan Quick is ready to go and is the likely starter.
This game will also be tough to gauge with all the missing players and the Kings have a little more depth to pull this one out.
Prediction: Kings win 3-2.
Arizona Coyotes vs San Jose Sharks
Head-to-Head: Coyotes 0-0 Sharks
It’s the first meeting of the season between the two Pacific Division teams. Arizona hasn’t played since a wild 6-5 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Scott Wedgewood might be the starter, but always check social media for confirmation. Clayton Keller leads the team in goals with nine and Shayne Gostisbehere has the team-lead in assists with 14.
San Jose is trying to make one last run at a post-season spot and winning here would help them stay in touch with the pack. Timo Meier is the leader in goals (12) and assists (17) and has shouldered the load on offence. Adin Hill is in COVID protocol, so that means James Reimer likely gets the call in between the pipes. Reimer has played well this season with a .936 save-percentage and 1.99 goals-against-average.
The Sharks know they better get moving if they want to get into contention. They should pick up the win here.
Prediction: Sharks win 4-1.