NHL Predictions: Dec. 31 with Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Rangers

Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Rangers
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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 Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Rangers.

NHL Predictions with Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Rangers

Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Rangers

Head-to-Head: Lightning 0-0 Rangers

This is the first meeting of the season between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Rangers and the start of a home and home.

It’s also the second night of a back-to-back for the Lightning. Before their game against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night, they had won their past four games. The Lightning are led by Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman, who both have more than 30 points this season.

The Rangers have lost their past two games. The Rangers are led by Artemi Panarin and Adam Fox, who have 35 and 31 points, respectively.

Four points separate the two teams in the standings. With more players healthy, this might be closer, but with both Tampa’s starting goaltender, Andrei Vasilevskiy, and backup, Brian Elliott, out due to the league’s health and safety protocols and it being the second game of a back to back, this would be the time the Rangers could seriously pull off a win over the best team in the NHL.

Prediction: 3-1 Rangers

New Jersey Devils vs Edmonton Oilers

Head-to-Head: Devils 0-0 Oilers

This is the first meeting between the New Jersey Devils and the Edmonton Oilers this season.

The Devils won their first game back 4-3 over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday. Jesper Bratt and Jack Hughes both had three-point nights. Bratt leads the team with 27 points in 30 games. Hughes missed a lot of the season with a shoulder injury but has 11 points in 14 games so far.

The Oilers lost their first game back 4-2 against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday. However, Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl both reached 50 points in both of their 30th games of the season.

Considering the Devils’ lead scorer has a little more than half the points McDavid and Draisaitl do, the Oilers should have no problem with this one.

Prediction: 4-1 Oilers

Vegas Golden Knights vs Anaheim Ducks

Head-to-Head: Golden Knights 1-1 Ducks

The Vegas Golden Knights and Anaheim Ducks have split their season series 1-1 so far. The Golden Knights won 5-4 in a shootout in October. Then, the Ducks bested the Golden Knights 6-5 earlier in December.

The Golden Knights won 6-3 over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday in their first game back from the pause without starting goaltender Robin Lehner, Mark Stone, Alex Pietrangelo and more. Chandler Stephenson leads the team in points with 33 in 32 games.

The Ducks are on a two-game losing streak, but both games went to overtime. The three-top scoring Ducks are Troy Terry and Trevor Zegras lead the team in points with 30 and 25, respectively. However, Zegras was placed in the league’s health and safety protocols Tuesday.

Only one point separates the Golden Knights and the Ducks in the standings. Even with players on both sides out with injuries and on the COVID list, this seems like it could be another one-goal game between the two teams.

Prediction: 3-2 Golden Knights in overtime

Detroit Red Wings vs Washington Capitals

Head-to-Head: Capitals 1-1 Red Wings

This is the third meeting of the season for the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings. In October, the Red Wings beat the Capitals 3-2 in overtime. In November, the Capitals shut out the Red Wings 2-0.

The Capitals won their last game and their only game since the NHL paused over the holidays 5-3 over the Nashville Predators on Wednesday. The Capitals fearless leader Alex Ovechkin leads both the Capitals and Red Wings in goals, assists and points with 22, 26 and 28, respectively.

This will be the first game since Dec. 18 for the Red Wings. They won that game 5-2 over the Devils. The Red Wings are led by Dylan Larkin, who has 15 goals, 14 assists and 29 points in 27 games and Lucas Raymond, who has 10 goals, 18 assists and 28 points in 31 games and just came off the COVID-19 protocol list Thursday.

The Red Wings have some young talent that is fun to watch and might be able to help them make the playoffs, but they don’t have an Ovechkin.

Prediction: 4-2 Capitals.

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