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 Washington Capitals vs Minnesota Wild
NHL Predictions with Washington Capitals vs Minnesota Wild
Washington Capitals vs Minnesota Wild
Head-to-Head: Capitals 0-0 Wild
On the second game of their back-to-back, the Washington Capitals are taking on the struggling Minnesota Wild. Losing four of their last five, the Wild have struggled defensively and especially in net. The Capitals on the other hand have won only two of their last five games. This is going to be a really fast game featuring a battle of the goaltenders. So who has the edge in this game? In simple words, the Capitals do.
The Capitals have been a great two-way team all year dominating offensively and backing that up with solid defensive play. The standouts for Washington have been the stars, Alexander Ovechkin and John Carlson. The Capitals are great at suppressing shots which is great considering they have average to below-average goaltending. The Wild will want to pounce on the chance to generate quality over quantity. Unfortunately, the Wild may be without star Kirill Kaprizov which is a huge blow to their offensive core. The key area may be special teams as both teams are both below average on both the powerplay and penalty kill. Overall this should be a great back and forth game but I’d take the Wild on this one.
Wild wins 4-3
Nashville Predators vs Arizona Coyotes
Head-to-Head: Predators 0-0 Coyotes
The Predators continue to roll on this season absolutely dominating as they sit in first place in the tight Central Division. Although they have played the most games in their division, these wins are still crucial for Nashville for when teams do catch up to the number of games played. Arizona is straight up the worst team in the NHL. It should be expected when you look at them on paper. When teams go into Arizona, they expect nothing else but a win.
You may be surprised as to why the Predators are a top team in the NHL. It simply comes down to defence and goaltending. The Predators are the fourth-best defensive team in the NHL while they also have a consistent year-to-year Vezina candidate in Juuse Saros. Along with this, they have offensive weapons in upcoming UFA Filip Forsberg, Matt Duchene, Roman Josi, and Ryan Johansen. Along with these guys they have an up-and-comer in Tanner Jeannot who is an absolute ox on the ice. Although they aren’t a shot-heavy team, they aren’t allowing many shots against which assists in keeping Saros’ load light as they make a run for a playoff spot.
Predators win 3-0
Chicago Blackhawks vs Vegas Golden Knights
Head-to-Head: Blackhawks 0-0 Golden Knights
After an embarrassing loss to, yup you guessed it, the Arizona Coyotes, the Blackhawks take on the offensive specialists Vegas Golden Knights. The Knights come into this one after beating the New York Rangers 5-1 in a statement game. Vegas should be looking at this game licking their lips. With a win, it would put them out of reach of the second-place Anaheim Ducks. The one reason Vegas wouldn’t win this game is due to their defence.
The Golden Knights have been in the bottom ten in the league when it comes to defence due to them allowing chance generation in the high danger areas. They no doubt have some great pieces on that blueline specifically underrated youngster Zach Whitecloud. On the offensive side, there’s then no doubt the Golden Knights, when healthy, are one of the top teams offensively in the NHL. Chicago is the opposite. They’re atrocious offensively but quite solid defensively and great at defending in front of the net. The Blackhawks should look to key in on the Knights’ first line. If successful they should be able to throw together a solid performance. Although they can throw a game together, there’s no reason Vegas shouldn’t take care of business vs Chicago.
Knights win 3-1
New York Rangers vs Anaheim Ducks
Head-to-Head: Rangers 0-0 Ducks
After a disappointing loss to the Golden Knights, the Rangers will look to get their offence going vs the Anaheim Ducks. These are two equal teams which means it’ll be a battle in which the goalie can stop the puck. Unfortunately, the Rangers won’t have their Vezina candidate goalie Igor Shesterkin to bail them out in this one. Both teams are actually the same defensively and middle of the pack throughout the NHL. However, the one area that the Rangers dominate is the powerplay. They’ve scored the seventh most powerplay goals in the league with 24 powerplay goals. The Rangers’ top player this season has been Chris Kreider who has scored 21 goals.
The Ducks currently sit second in the pacific with games in hand on both the Flames and Oilers. Anaheims offence has exploded this season scoring 108 goals in all situations. The Ducks have been led by the young guns in Troy Terry, Trevor Zegras, and Sonny Milano. Along with average play and above-average results, the Ducks have been blessed with a solid goaltending tandem in John Gibson and Anthony Stolarz. With their ability to dominate offensively, the Rangers will pull off a win in Cali.
Rangers win 3-2
Detroit Red Wings vs LA Kings
Head-to-Head: Red Wings 0-0 Kings
As both these teams push for a wildcard spot they go to battle in the sunny state of California. Both teams are gunning for wins as we’re almost at the halfway mark of the season. The Kings have been dominant offensively going from a below-average to excellent team in the offensive zone. The Red Wings have got a bump offensively from Calder trophy candidate Lucas Raymond and veteran Tyler Bertuzzi. The flaw we see in both teams is their play away from the puck in their own end.
The Kings have a differential of 0 even whereas the Red Wings -18. If they want to make it to the playoffs that’s something they definitely need to clean up. The Kings have been lucky enough to have solid goaltending in veteran Jonathan Quick who has saved 16 more goals than expected. In Detroit, we’ve also gotten to see former Hurricane Alex Nedeljkovic with seven goals saved above expected. Along with many games this season this could possibly be a complete shootout as both teams are very similar. Ultimately, tune into this game as it could be a potential barn burner full of excitement.
Red Wings win 5-4
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