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 Nashville Predators.
NHL Predictions: February 1st including Vancouver Canucks vs Nashville Predators
Ottawa Senators vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Senators 0-1 Islanders
In the first matchup of the day, there are two teams struggling to find their way back to winning. For the Senators, they were atrocious to start the season and have been looking relatively decent the last couple of weeks. As for the Islanders, they had much of the same as what Ottawa has experienced, but there were vastly higher expectations for them prior to the season start.
In the last 10 games respectively, Ottawa has gone 5-3-2. This has been largely due to the fact that their goaltending has gone from one of the worst situations in the league to relatively respectable. Anton Forsberg has found his way back to around a .500 record courtesy of a couple of very good outings. And for Matt Murray, he finally finds himself above the .900-mark this season.
For the Islanders, their defensive production has been trending in the direction many thought it would. Now they just need to improve on their scoring and they will easily find themselves challenging for a playoff spot come the end of the season.
Prediction: Islanders win 3-2
Calgary Flames vs Dallas Stars
Head-to-Head: Flames 0-1 Stars
The last time these teams met, it was an exciting game to watch, with Dallas coming away with a 4-3 win back on November 4th. This game is very likely going to be much of the same, as both teams are very evenly matched.
Both Dallas and Calgary are pushing for consistency and to stay in the playoff hunt. Games like this one will go a long way towards keeping winning ways down the stretch. Expect Joe Pavelski (19-29-48) and Johnny Gaudreau (17-35-52) to get on the score sheet for their respective teams.
Prediction: Flames win 4-3
Arizona Coyotes vs Colorado Avalanche
Head-to-Head: Coyotes 0-2 Avalanche
There really isn’t much to say about this game. Arizona has lost five games in a row and the Avalanche are on a 10-game winning streak. On top of that, the Avalanche have won both meetings so far this season, including a 5-0 walloping of the Coyotes back on January 15th. Expect to see much of the same as the Avalanche extend their winning streak to 11 games.
Prediction: Avalanche win 5-1
Buffalo Sabres vs Vegas Golden Knights
Head-to-Head: Sabres 0-0 Golden Knights
While the disparity in talent between these two teams is similar to the prior matchup, it is to a much lesser extent. The Sabres have had some seriously bad goaltending this season, which explains why they’re currently 14-23-7 on the season and allowing 3.43 goals-per-game this season, 27th in the NHL. Couple that with the fact that the Golden Knights are averaging 3.31 goals per game, and you start to see a rather clear winner here.
Prediction: Golden Knights win 5-2
Vancouver Canucks vs Nashville Predators
Head-to-Head: Canucks 1-1 Predators
For the featured matchup of the day, it is the Vancouver Canucks vs Nashville Predators. This should make for an exciting game to watch, albeit probably not the highest-scoring matchup of the night.
There are a few contributing factors to this game likely being very close, and that is goaltending and special teams. With the Canucks getting Thatcher Demko back, expect to see him square off against Juuse Saros on the other end. This will make for a great goaltending matchup.
As for the factor that could very well decide the winner, special teams are a big difference between these two teams. The Predators currently sit eighth in the league on the man advantage, scoring 25% of the time. And for the Canucks, they are currently sporting the worst penalty kill in the league with an abysmal 69.5% on the penalty kill.
If Vancouver is to stand any chance of winning this one, they are going to have to stay out of the box.
Prediction: Predators win 4-2
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