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 Anaheim Ducks vs Minnesota Wild.
NHL Predictions with Anaheim Ducks vs Minnesota Wild
Dallas Stars vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Stars 1 – 0 Panthers
A week ago, these two teams had their first matchup of the season in Dallas. It was a thrilling game that resulted in a 6-5 shootout win for the Stars.
Dallas begins their dreaded Florida trip with a game against the Panthers tonight. With the Tampa Bay Lightning waiting for them at home tomorrow, this game is one they must have. Joe Pavelski, along with Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson, makes up one of the most productive lines in the NHL. Pavelski is coming off a five-point game and is amidst a seven-game point streak. He has 24 points in 26 career games against the Panthers. Tending the goal will likely be Jake Oettinger tonight, as Braden Holtby is in the league’s Covid protocol.
Florida is one of, if not the best team in the league right now. Their only loss in the last seven games was to the very team they face tonight. The Panthers are scoring goals at will and are getting solid goaltending from Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky owns a remarkable 17-3-3 record this season and has a lifetime record of 15-2-2 against the Stars. The odds seem to be in their favour, especially when you consider a Norris-trophy-worthy season from Aaron Ekblad to date. The Panthers captain has seven points in his last four games.
Prediction: Stars win 5-3
Anaheim Ducks vs Minnesota Wild
Head-to-Head: Ducks 0 – 2 Wild
The Wild’s 2-0 record against the Ducks this season is deceiving. They won the first game on opening night with eight seconds left in regulation and won the second game in overtime. Tonight’s tilt should be another close one.
The Ducks have lost six of the past eight games but still find themselves in second place in the Pacific division. The progression of young players like Jamie Drysdale, Sonny Milano, Trevor Zegras and Ducks’ leading scorer Troy Terry has quickly made Anaheim an exciting team to watch. Terry has six points in his last five games. In goal, the Ducks will likely give the start to Anthony Stolarz with John Gibson still in Covid protocol. Stolarz has performed well when called upon this season. He has a 6-4-1 record with a 2.29 GAA and a .929 save percentage.
The opposing netminder for the Wild will likely be Kaapo Kahkonen as number one goalie Cam Talbot is still on the mend since getting injured in the Winter Classic. Since then, Kahkonen is 2-0 with wins over Washington and Boston. Minnesota will welcome back to the lineup their newly named all-star, Kirill Kaprizov. Kaprizov will have only missed one game after getting injured against the Bruins last week. He has 40 points in 32 games this season and will look to continue a four-game point streak.
Prediction: Ducks win 3-2 in OT
Arizona Coyotes vs Colorado Avalanche
Head-to-Head: Coyotes 0 – 0 Avalanche
Will lightning strike twice? The Coyotes are coming off a win on Wednesday night against one of the league’s best teams – the Toronto Maple Leafs. Karel Vejmelka was near perfect, stopping 45 of 46 shots thrown his way in a 2-1 upset victory. Tonight, they face the Colorado Avalanche, who lead the league in goals for with 143. That’s an average of 4.33 goals per game.
Tonight will be Vejmelka’s fifth straight start behind the worst team in the league. Despite having only four wins in 20 games this season, he holds a respectable .910 save percentage. Offensively, the Coyotes are notably thin. Clayton Keller leads the team in points 26 in 34 games. Jakob Chychrun, who’s name has been swirling in trade circles, is likely to miss tonight’s game after being placed in the Covid protocol on Monday.
The Avalanche are getting contributions up and down their roster. They have an incredible six regulars in their lineup who are producing at over a point per game. One of them is Nazem Kadri, who has been able to maintain a torrid pace this season. He has 48 points in 30 games – a 1.60 points per game which ranks only second to Connor McDavid’s 1.61. Another one of the aforementioned six is Cale Makar, who leads all defencemen in goals with 16. Over his 130-game career, he has played seven games against the Coyotes and has yet to tickle twine. With back-to-back games on back-to-back nights against them, that’s likely to change.
Prediction: Avalanche win 5-1
Embed from Getty Images