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 Vegas Golden Knights vs Florida Panthers.
NHL Predictions: January 27th Featuring Vegas Golden Knights vs Florida Panthers
Carolina Hurricanes vs Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Senators 1-0 Hurricanes
The Ottawa Senators enter tonight with two wins in a row and points in three straight. What they don’t have is star forward Drake Batherson who was injured from a dirty play by Aaron Dell last game. That’s going to be significant scoring loss, especially against the dynamite Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games and are averaging five goals a game in their last five.
Barring a miraculous goaltending effort in Ottawa, or some sort of complete stumble by Carolina, this one should be all Hurricanes.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 5-2
Anaheim Ducks vs Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Ducks 1-0 Canadiens
The Anaheim Ducks just played last night in an overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Normally that would be grounds for a discount in their play tonight, but it really shouldn’t be much of an issue tonight against the lowly Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens only have one win in their last 10 games and have only eight wins on the seasons – a league-low.
The Ducks remain firmly entrenched in the Pacific Division conversation, currently sitting in second. They are also fresh off of wins against the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning, who are much better teams than Montreal right now. There’s little reason to doubt an Anaheim win.
Prediction: Ducks win 4-2
New Jersey Devils vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head-to-Head: Devils 1-0 Lightning
Lots has changed for the New Jersey Devils since their 5-3 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning back in November. After looking like they were capable of staying in the Eastern Conference’s wild-card mix, they began to collapse and are now with almost no hope of the postseason. The Devils also just put their starting goaltender, Mackenzie Blackwood, on injured reserve after revealing that he had been playing unhealthy for quite some time. That’s both an on-ice and moral blow to a team in near-complete free-fall already.
They’ll stand little chance against a Lightning team that is 14-4-3 on home-ice with a scorching Nikita Kucherov back in the lineup. He has eight points in his last five games and should be capable of at least a couple more tonight.
Prediction: Lightning win 5-1
Los Angeles Kings vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Kings 0-0 Islanders
The New York Islanders have finally started to course-correct their season after an incredibly poor start. They are now 7-2-1 in their last ten, with four wins in their last five, and finally starting to look like the Islanders team that we expected at the start of the season. Their playoff hopes remain distant, it’s a massive hole they are climbing out of, but they still have over half the season to go in terms of games played. That should feed a sort of desperation for this Islanders team that could make them a bit trickier than their pedestrian .500 record suggests.
The Los Angeles Kings are in a bit of a different boat. They’ve had a better start to the season than expected and currently sit third in the Pacific. As of lately, however, they haven’t looked quite as good. Over their last five games, they only have a single win and have given up at least four goals in three of those games. The Kings’ defence (ranked seventh-best in the league in goals against per game) is what’s found them their success, but if that starts to slip on a longer-term basis, they could be in trouble.
The Islanders have been a bit better as of late, so they should win this one, but it’ll likely be close enough for extra time.
Prediction: Islanders win 3-2 (OT)
Vegas Golden Knights vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Golden Knights 0-0 Panthers
This is without a doubt the premier matchup of the night. One of the West’s very best against one of the East’s very best in a game that should be a tip-top display of hockey.
The Vegas Golden Knights are a very good team on the road with a 12-5-1 away record on the season. they are going to absolutely need that same success tonight as the Florida Panthers are an incredible 21-3 at home. Yes, you read that right, 21-3. On home-ice, Sergei Bobrovsky is tough to beat and he will be the biggest challenge for the Golden Knights to crack.
The Golden Knights don’t have a bad offence by any means, as they currently sit eighth in the league in terms of goals per game. The issue is that while the Panthers have a red-hot goaltender in the net, they also boost an offence that scores roughly four goals per game. That’s good for second in the league. Vegas not only has to find a way to solve Bobrovsky, but they also have to find a way to stop Jonathan Huberdeau and company from completely torching them.
That’s a tough task and one that Vegas likely can’t do on the road. When these two teams meet on the Strip in March, it could be a different story.
Prediction: Panthers win 4-3
Embed from Getty Images