NHL Predictions: January 31st with New Jersey Devils vs Toronto Maple

New Jersey Devils vs Toronto Maple Leafs
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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 New Jersey Devils vs Toronto Maple Leafs

NHL Predictions Featuring New Jersey Devils vs Toronto Maple Leafs

Florida Panthers vs Columbus Blue Jackets

Head-to-Head: Panthers 1-0 Blue Jackets

This is the second meeting of the season between the Panthers and Blue Jackets. The Panthers continue to be one of the best teams in the NHL. They have won three straight entering this one. In the first meeting of the season just over a week ago, the Panthers routed the Blue Jackets by a score of 9-2. In that game, the Panthers best players of Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Sam Bennett, Anthony Duclair went off. That line continues to be one of the best in the business. Having Aaron Ekblad back certainly makes this better on defence. Anton Lundell is also contributing as well. This will be the second of back-to-back games for the Blue Jackets, so they are already behind the eight-ball with the Panthers having a day of rest. Even with wins in back-to-back games, the Blue Jackets still are near the bottom of the Metro Division.

Prediction: Panthers Win 5-2

Edmonton Oilers vs Ottawa Senators

Head-to-Head: Oilers 0-1 Senators

This is the second meeting of the year between the Senators and Oilers. The Senators took the first meeting back on January 15th by a score of 6-4. That was also when Edmonton was in the midst of their struggles. Now the Oilers have won four straight games and doing it in dominating fashion. The addition of Evander Kane helps, but was he what they really needed? Regardless of whether it is or isn’t, Kane scored in his first game as an Edmonton Oiler. The Oilers are getting wins against teams they should as they climb back into playoff contention. But the Oilers still have underlying problems on defence and with their goaltending. While Ottawa is not having the season they had expected to, they are still the “Pesky Sens.” So the Oilers will be in tough in this one. The Senators have lost two straight games, but have shown they can play up to the level of their competition. Revenge will be on the minds of the Oilers as they look to increase their winning streak to five.

Prediction: Oilers win 6-3

Anaheim Ducks vs Detroit Red Wings

Head-to-Head: Ducks 1-0 Red Wings

This is the second and final meeting of the season between the Ducks and the Red Wings. The Ducks took the first meeting by a score of 4-3 in the shootout back in early January in Anaheim. This game is in Detroit. Anaheim enters the game with wins in three of the past four games as they conclude their five-game road trip before they have a nice break. The young guys of Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry have kept the Ducks in the playoff race in the West. John Gibson continues to play lights out. The Ducks need to win to hold on to their spot in the Pacific Division. Detroit is still having a nice season but they are off the pace from when they started. The Red Wings have lost four of their past five games. Yes, Lucas Raymond, Dylan Larkin, and Mortiz Seider are still putting up solid numbers, but goaltending and defence are letting Detroit down.

Prediction: Ducks Win 5-4

Vancouver Canucks vs Chicago Blackhawks

Head-to-Head: Canucks 1-1 Blackhawks

This is the third meeting of the year between the Canucks and Blackhawks. The teams have split the first two meetings of the season. Vancouver enters the game with just one win in their previous five games. The honeymoon period is over with Bruce Boudreau and the Canucks. Not having their starting goaltenders does not help the cause, but it appears like the Canucks will be sellers at the deadline. J.T. Miller leads the team with 44 points with Quinn Hughes right behind him with 33 points. Elias Pettersson and Conor Garland are tied with 24 points. Chicago is another team that could be sellers at the deadline though they are playing better as of late with two straight wins. Patrick Kane leads the team with 41 points followed by Alex DeBrincat with 36 points.

Prediction: Chicago Wins 3-2

New Jersey Devils vs Toronto Maple Leafs

Head-to-Head: Devils 0-0 Maple Leafs

This is the first meeting of the season between the Devils and the Maple Leafs. The prior meeting in early January was postponed due to COVID and was rescheduled for tonight. This is a battle of two teams in opposite spots in the standings. Toronto enters the game winners of three straight while the Devils have lost four straight. The Devils most recent loss came at the hands of Carolina on Saturday night. The Devils are 0-5 in their last five meetings against Toronto. In addition, the Devils are 1-6 in their last seven games in Toronto.

Nothing is going right for the Devils this season, especially with their goaltenders. Both Mackenzie Blackwood and Jonathan Bernier are out injured. New Jersey is relying on Jon Gillies to get the job done between the pipes. The only bright spots have Jack Hughes, Jesper Bratt, Dawson Mercer, Nico Hischier, and Nathan Bastian. Other than that it has been a disappointing season for the Devils as they continue to deal with the injury bug.

Toronto is exactly where they want to be battling for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. The Maple Leafs are finally incorporating Petr Mrazek more to give Jack Campbell some rest. The big boys of Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares and William Nylander have been getting the job done. But it has been the play of Michael Bunting and Ondrej Kase that has really impressed. This looks like one-way traffic on paper, but the Devils have played so well in many of their one-goal game losses.

Prediction: Maple Leafs Win 4-1

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