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 Vancouver Canucks vs Florida Panthers.
NHL Predictions With Vancouver Canucks vs Florida Panthers
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Lightning 0 – 1 Sabres
Though the Buffalo Sabres won their last game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, that’s not likely to happen again. The Sabres are on a five-game losing streak, including defeats at the hands of the New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils. However, Rasmus Dahlin maintained a point-per-game pace through that stretch, as did Tage Thompson. For Tampa Bay, Andrei Vasilevskiy hasn’t looked as consistent as usual after coming back from COVID protocol, but Brayden Point has 10 points in the seven games following his return from a shoulder injury. Even though the Lightning haven’t been at their sharpest, they should still have enough in the tank to beat the Sabres.
Prediction: Lightning win, 4-1
Vancouver Canucks vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Canucks 0 – 0 Panthers
Tonight, the Vancouver Canucks and Florida Panthers open their season series. The Panthers remain at the top of the Atlantic Division, while the Canucks – despite improvement under Bruce Boudreau – still sit at the bottom of the Pacific.
Recently, Florida has had some goaltending issues. Sergei Bobrovsky allowed eight goals on 63 shots for a .873 save percentage through his last two starts, far above his 2.57 goals-against average on the season. Still, the Panthers were able to win their last contest thanks to an overtime goal from Anthony Duclair. Duclair now has four goals and three assists through his five most recent games.
On the Canucks’ end, Thatcher Demko has been excellent in goal. He hasn’t put up any less than .900 save percentage since late November, and has won his last seven starts. Also in the vein of impressive streaks, J.T. Miller has points in nine consecutive games, three goals and 10 assists.
Although the Canucks have transformed into a challenging opponent, the Panthers are simply too good of a team to expect an upset against. It’ll most likely be Florida that gets the win tonight.
Prediction: Panthers win, 3-2
Carolina Hurricanes vs Philadelphia Flyers
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 1 – 1 Flyers
For the third time this season, the Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers will face off. The Hurricanes continue to look formidable at the top of the Metropolitan. The Flyers, by contrast, sit in sixth in the same division with a five-game losing streak. Philadelphia will most likely get some key players – including captain Claude Giroux and top defenceman Ivan Provorov – back from COVID protocol. Conversely, the Hurricanes remain mostly healthy. They dropped an overtime loss to the Panthers on Saturday, but also saw eight different players put up points in that game (including two assists for Sebastian Aho). It’d be hard to bet against Carolina in this one.
Prediction: Hurricanes win, 6-2
Chicago Blackhawks vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Head-to-Head: Blackhawks 0 – 0 Blue Jackets
The Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets will compete for the first time this season. Both teams have lost seven of their last 10 games, but enter tonight’s game fresh off wins. Columbus is clinging to fifth in the Metropolitan, 12 points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. Oliver Bjorkstrand, Adam Boqvist, and Jakub Voracek all recorded two points in the Blue Jackets’ win over the Devils. On the other hand, the Blackhawks sit near the bottom of the Central Division. Nevertheless, Marc-Andre Fleury gave them something to build on with an exceptional performance in his first win against his former team, the Vegas Golden Knights. Tonight’s contest has the potential to be a close one, but the Blue Jackets will walk away with the win.
Prediction: Blue Jackets win, 2-1