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 – 1 Rangers
The Tampa Bay Lightning vs New York Rangers is our featured game of the day. A 12:30 Eastern start, this game is one of many matinee games today. These two teams faced off on New Year’s Eve with the Rangers taking it 4-3 in a solid game. Expect this to be much of the same today. The Lightning, despite missing time from lots of key players including Nikita Kucherov, have still been rolling. The Bolts are first in their division and tied for first in the league. A very familiar place for this team, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone. They will look to get some revenge tonight as it is very rare they drop multiple games in a row, let alone to the same team.
The Rangers have had an amazing start to the year largely on the back of Igor Shesterkin. He is looking like the real deal early on this season. The team itself hasn’t played wonderfully at 5v5, however. They are near the bottom of the league in both CF% and xGF% right now. This doesn’t mean they need to completely panic, but not relying on goaltending and shooting percentage so heavily would be nice to see. A tight battle where the Rangers’ skill keeps them in it is what should be expected.
Prediction: Lightning win 5-4.
Boston Bruins vs Detroit Red Wings
Head-to-Head: Bruins 1 – 1 Red Wings
The Boston Bruins have flown under the radar a bit this season. Health and a slow start put them a little behind the pack but the biggest thing is the lack of games played. They trail the Red Wings in the standings by one point despite playing five fewer games. After that, they have quite a way to catch up to the top three in the division. But first thing is first, passing the Wings.
The Red Wings have had a much better start to the year than just about anyone was expecting. Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider being legit stars is the big reason for that. Tyler Bertuzzi is having himself a season too. As always, Dylan Larkin also looks solid. This team is not one to be taken lightly.
Prediction: Bruins win 4-2.
San Jose Sharks vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Head-to-Head: Sharks 0 – 0 Penguins
The Sharks are out East as they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins today. San Jose is 5-5-0 in their last 10 which kind of describes how their season has been. Not bad enough to be with the worst teams but nowhere near good enough to be near the top. James Reimer has been very solid though and Erik Karlsson is starting to look like the old him which are both positives.
The Penguins have put together a very impressive year considering how many man-games they have lost. Evgeni Malkin has been out most of the season and Sidney Crosby has missed time too. Evan Rodrigues is having a breakout season no one saw coming. If that can keep up, it gives this Pens team an added element of depth they have seemed to lack the past few seasons. This should be an interesting game between two teams needing points.
Prediction: Penguins win 3-1.
New Jersey Devils vs Washington Capitals
Head-to-Head: Devils 0 – 1 Capitals
The New Jersey Devils have had a disappointing year in what was supposed to be a year of growth. They are no longer a bottom three team or anything like that. However, they are still only 12-15-5. The good news? That is currently only four points outside of a playoff spot. The Wings hold the wild card with 33 right now but New Jersey has also played five more games than Boston. The games played will hurt their chances severely. However, today is about getting two points and trying to chip away at the deficit.
The Capitals on the other hand, just keep on chugging along. Will this team ever truly slow down? Tied for first in the league they have been the same old Capitals we know. Alex Ovechkin is causing havoc among defences and the depth, defence, and goaltending have all been chugging along too. It will be interesting to see if they can add a piece or two at the deadline. If they can, they may yet again be a cup threat.
Prediction: Capitals win 4-2.