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 St Louis Blues vs Vancouver Canucks.
NHL Predictions With St Louis Blues vs Vancouver Canucks
Winnipeg Jets vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Head-to-Head: Jets 0 – 1 Penguins
Currently, the Pittsburgh Penguins are sitting high in the Metropolitan Division standings and continuing to work their way up. However, the Winnipeg Jets have not found as much success. Their recent record is telling, as they fell to the Washington Capitals and Nashville Predators – all teams who, like the Penguins, are in playoff position. Kyle Connor recorded three points for Winnipeg in those contests. On Pittsburgh’s end, Sidney Crosby scored a hat trick and an assist in his last game. The Penguins will have an extra advantage, as this is the Jets’ second game in a back-to-back. Pittsburgh should be able to extend their winning streak to five.
Prediction: Penguins win, 4-1
Ottawa Senators vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Head-to-Head: Senators 0 – 0 Blue Jackets
Neither the Ottawa Senators nor the Columbus Blue Jackets are in a good place at the moment. Ottawa hovers near the bottom of the Atlantic Division, several games behind the rest of the league thanks to a previous COVID outbreak. Meanwhile, Columbus is fifth in the Metropolitan Division, but with a wide gap between themselves and the Capitals. Keep an eye on Drake Batherson, who leads the Senators in points and had a goal and assist against the Penguins on Thursday. For Columbus, captain Boone Jenner holds a six-game point streak. Assuming their goalies are able to hold it together, the Senators could pull off an upset.
Prediction: Senators win, 3-2
Los Angeles Kings vs New Jersey Devils
Head-to-Head: Kings 1 – 0 Devils
Thanks to a sudden resurgence from the New York Islanders, the New Jersey Devils have hit rock bottom in the Metropolitan. They have recently fallen to several of the other divisions’ worst teams, including the Arizona Coyotes. Nico Hischier picked up his third point in as many games during that 4-1 loss. On the other hand, the Los Angeles Kings sit in playoff position – but, like the Devils, have dropped their last three games. Anze Kopitar had the Kings’ only goal in a similar 4-1 loss, albeit at the hands of a tougher opponent in the Colorado Avalanche. Both teams may be struggling at the moment, but Los Angeles should edge out New Jersey in this contest.
Prediction: Kings win, 3-1
Florida Panthers vs Seattle Kraken
Head-to-Head: Panthers 0 – 1 Kraken
Still hanging on to the top spot in the Atlantic Division, the Florida Panthers are picking up steam as they look to extend their two-game winning streak against the Seattle Kraken. Sergei Bobrovsky – who has five wins and a .953 save percentage in his last five starts – should provide a steady presence in the Panthers’ goal tonight. As the worst in the Pacific Division, the Kraken are in a much different situation. Team points leader Jordan Eberle will look to get back on track after being held scoreless for five games. Overall, the Kraken have beaten few teams the calibre of the Panthers, so Florida should get another win tonight.
Prediction: Panthers win, 5-0
St. Louis Blues vs Vancouver Canucks
Head-to-Head: Blues 0 – 0 Canucks
Tonight, the St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks will face off for the first time this season. The Blues have a two-game winning streak going, having shut out the Kraken for their latest victory. For their part, the Canucks are sixth in the Pacific, but are within reach of the Calgary Flames and even the San Jose Sharks.
For the Blues, the second line in particular has been churning out points at a speedy clip. Vladimir Tarasenko has seven points in his last five games, and Pavel Buchnevich has six – including four goals. Centre Ivan Barbashev has two goals and four assists in that stretch as well. For the Canucks, the normally-steady goalie tandem has been upended by COVID. Starting netminder Thatcher Demko is in protocol, along with captain J.T. Miller. Backup Jaroslav Halak has also been on protocol since January 15th, forcing Spencer Martin to step in against the Panthers. Martin put together an admirable performance, allowing just a single regulation goal in the Canucks’ eventual shootout loss. However, who will start for Vancouver – and how he will fare – is up in the air.
The Canucks, when healthy, are not to be taken lightly. Yet the uncertainty they are facing with COVID should give the Blues a definite leg up tonight.
Prediction: Blues win, 4-2