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 Boston Bruins.
NHL Predictions: January 20th Including the Washington Capitals vs Boston Bruins
Ottawa Senators vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Head-to-Head: Senators 1-0 Penguins
Earlier in the season, this game would have made for one to pass up for neutral fans. Despite that, the Senators have been turning things around a bit and have looked to be a decent team recently. As for Pittsburgh, they are continuing a hot streak and continue to look to be a very strong playoff-calibre team.
The Senators have gone 5-4-1 in their last 10 games, getting good play across the board in a balanced style of scoring. Young forward Alex Formenton, 22, has looked to find his touch, scoring two goals and adding four assists in the last five games, bringing his season total to seven goals and seven assists in 29 games. Despite some pretty subpar goaltending for them this season, they are finding ways to win as of late.
For Pittsburgh, it is the usual suspects leading the way. They have gone 8-2-0 in their last 10 games and look to be a possible Stanley Cup contender. They have gotten great offensive play recently from defenseman Kris Letang, who has six points in the last five games. On top of that, they have gotten consistently solid play from Tristan Jarry, who has posted a 19-7-4 record with three shutouts largely thanks to a .928 save percentage and a 2.08 GAA.
Predictions: Penguins win 4-2
Dallas Stars vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Stars 0-0 Sabres
While this one should be a relatively straightforward prediction, it is far more difficult to see the result than on paper would dictate. While the Sabres are once again in the bottom third of the league, the Stars have been anything other than consistent this season. At times they look to be a playoff time, and then others they let in five goals to arguably the worst team in the league, the Montreal Canadiens.
For the Stars, expect Braden Holtby to get the nod in this matchup. His goaltending partner Jake Oettinger, who many believed would be the full-time starter, has looked shaky in his last two games, letting in nine goals on 36 shots.
While the Stars have been inconsistent and the Sabres are better than years past, Dallas should pull this one-off.
Prediction: Stars win 3-2
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Philadelphia Flyers
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 0-0 Flyers
This is going to be a game of who can get out of their slump of bad play. Both the Flyers and the Blue Jackets have looked very poor recently, for two very different reasons.
In the last 10 games, Columbus has gone 3-7-0. Of those seven losses, they have given up four or more goals in six of them, giving up seven goals on two occasions and nine to the Florida Panthers in their last game. If they are to have any chance of righting the ship, they will need more consistent shot suppression for Elvis Merzlikins to be able to do his job to the ability he has shown he can.
For the Flyers, their 1-6-3 record in the last 10 games has seen them plummet down the standings. They are struggling to score, can’t keep the other team from scoring, and their special teams have been below average, at best.
Prediction: Columbus wins 4-3
Washington Capitals vs Boston Bruins
Head-to-Head: Capitals 0-1 Bruins
The last team these two teams met, on January 10th, the Bruins scored at will, winning 7-3 on the day. Since then, Boston has continued to play very well and Washington has continued to sit in a slump of mediocrity and inconsistency.
Both of these teams are in the top half of the league in scoring this season, and both are also top 10 in defence as well. Expect to see the usual names on the scoresheet for both teams, with Evgeny Kuznetsov (12-27-39) and Alex Ovechkin (27-28-55) leading the way for Washington and Brad Marchand (20-23-43) and David Pastrnak (16-16-32) leading the charge for the Bruins.
This game will almost certainly be decided on goaltending and the Capitals’ ability to stop the Bruins man advantage. With Ilya Samsonov likely to get the start in between the pipes for Washington, that tips the needle ever so slightly in their favour.
Prediction: Washington wins 3-2