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 Carolina Hurricanes.
NHL Predictions with Vancouver Canucks vs Carolina Hurricanes
Vancouver Canucks vs Carolina Hurricanes
Head-to-Head: Canucks 0-0 Hurricanes
After getting obliterated by the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning, the Canucks look to play a better defensive game vs an even better team in the Carolina Hurricanes. Getting four points in five games, Carolina continues to dominate as we get close to the halfway mark of the season. The Canucks are going to have their hands full in this matchup. Carolina is the second-best offensive team in the NHL right behind the Florida Panthers. The Hurricanes have two primary offensive generation points. Those two points are net-front and on the blueline. Although the Canes are great offensively they’re at the bottom of the league when it comes to defence. This is an area where the Canucks stars can step up. It’s been a quiet season for Elias Pettersson so this would be a game for him to get going. As the Hurricanes allow a ton of net-front chances, this would be a game for Tyler Motte who scored a highlight-reel goal last game vs Tampa Bay. The Canucks will depend on Thatcher Demko to keep them in this one. Although the Hurricanes are below average defensively, the Canucks don’t have the offence to propel them past this juggernaut of a team.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 5-2
Nashville Predators vs Boston Bruins
Head-to-Head: Predators 0-1 Bruins
Surprisingly enough the Predators have been the better team out of these two teams. Both teams are in playoffs spots but we see the Predators sit atop the competitive Central division whereas the Bruins are in a wildcard position. Nashville goes into this game winning five of their last five and Boston winning four of their last five. These two teams are very like in most ways besides the goaltending each team has got. The Bruins are arguably one of the top two-way teams in the NHL. The Predators are average offensively which is easy to identify if you look at their forward lineup on paper. Sure they got some major pieces but they don’t necessarily have the depth. The Bruins have the exact same issue. They’ve been a top team for years but depth has been what has put other teams over the top vs them. The predators have gotten extraordinary goaltending in Juuse Saros as usual. As both these teams are excellent defensively, whichever team manages to beat the other’s goalie and get some zone time, should be able to get the win.
Prediction: Predators win 3-2
Washington Capitals vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Capitals 0-0 Islanders
As the Islanders continue their dreadful season, the Capitals are in the race for a division championship. The Islanders have had every possible excuse to use from the inevitable covid 19 to injuries. The Capitals have had all the luck this season not facing insane periods without key players luckily. They have been set over the edge by their offensive ability keying specifically in on the legendary Alex Ovechkin and a bounceback season from Evgeny Kuznetsov. The Islanders have managed to win some games due to some great goaltending from Ilya Sorokin. The Islanders just aren’t themselves this season as the once gifted defensive team is not solid defensively at all. They haven’t got consistent scoring from any of their stars. The Capitals on the other hand are the luckiest team in the NHL finishing-wise. This should be a pretty simple game for the Capitals as they’re dominant offensively and defensively. The Islanders are middle of the pack offensively and defensively. The single way they win this game is if they get the goaltending from Ilya Sorokin. The Islanders should look to capitalize offensively vs the Jensen-Van Riemsdyk pairing. Either way, the Capitals should get the much-needed two points.
Predictions: Capitals win 2-0
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 0-0 Panthers
The Blue Jackets are another team in the race for a wildcard spot. The Florida Panthers on the other hand are a complete lock. After killing the Carolina Hurricanes 6-0, the Blue Jackets confidence is sky-high. The Panthers don’t need to be explained to any hockey fan. Everyone knows how dominant they are. They’ve gotten insanely solid offence, amazing goaltending, and some average defensive play. When comparing these two top-six forward groups, you can see why the Panthers are so good. Columbus needs all the points they can get as they’re right with Detroit and Philadelphia vying for the second wild-card spot. The Blue Jackets’ biggest flaw is their defence. They allow a crazy amount of high danger chances while having average goaltending, not the best recipe for success. The Panthers should key in on rookie Yegor Chinakhov and Oliver Bjorkstrand. To simply put it, if the Panthers can score a goal or two while their goaltender stands on their head, they should take this one to Columbus.
Prediction: Panthers win 4-1
Buffalo Sabres vs Detroit Red Wings
Head-to-Head: Sabres 0-2 Red Wings
As the Red Wings look to continue pushing for a wildcard spot, the Sabres look to rebound after an expected loss to Tampa Bay. The Red Wings have exceeded expectations for this season as they’ve gotten a boost from their young guns in Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond. If Detroit wants to make a playoff push they definitely need to clean it up defensively. They’ve been blessed with another great season from Alex Nedeljkovic and his first as a Red Wing. The Red Wings should be drooling as this is a key game for them to grab two points to tighten the margin between them and Boston. The Sabres come into this game after beating a very good Predators team where we saw Jeff Skinner score two goals. The Red Wings come in losing four of their last five. The Red Wings will look to get their offence going as they’ve had trouble generating offence away from the net front.
Prediction: Red Wings win 3-2
Dallas Stars vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head-to-Head: Stars 0-0 Lightning
A rematch of the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals. The Lightning are exactly where everyone has expected them to be. They’ve dominated all season both offensively and defensively while receiving Vezina calibre goaltending as always in Andrei Vasilevskiy. Dallas is the dark horse of the Central division being right in the playoff race. The Stars hasn’t been a dominant offensive team but they do have some great pieces in their top six. Notable performers this season include veteran Joe Pavelski, Jason Robertson, and Roope Hintz. As the Lightning have gotten great goaltending, so have the Stars in rookie Jake Oettinger. The Boston University standout has been a top goaltender in the league this year saving five more goals than expected (GSAX). The Stars’ top line should look to capitalize when the pairing of Victor Hedman and Zach Bogosian is on the ice as they’re weak defensively. The Lightning have the upper hand in every category going into this game. With all of this in mind, the Lightning should have no problem ending Dallas’ hot streak
Prediction: Lightning win 4-2