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 Florida Panthers vs New York Rangers
NHL Predictions with Florida Panthers vs New York Rangers
Seattle Kraken vs Boston Bruins
Head-to-Head: Kraken 0 – 0 Bruins
The Kraken will look to kick off their February on a winning note. After going 4-8 in the month of January, Seattle has all but fallen out of the playoff race in the West. They’ve been alternating wins and losses their last six games. So if that trend continues, they are poised to take the win on the road in Boston.
The Bruins had a productive January, going 11-5. They are now positioned nicely in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Linus Ullmark was shelled against the Dallas Stars the other night. He has been shouldering the starting duties with Tuuka Rask out with a lower-body injury. Jeremy Swayman got the callup back to the big club and will most likely start this game against the lowly Kraken and give a break to Ullmark.
Prediction: Bruins win 4-1
San Jose Sharks vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head-to-Head: Sharks 0 – 1 Lightning
The last time these two clubs met, the Lightning put on a clinic. A 7-1 thumping. The Sharks played sub .500 hockey for the month of January and have allowed 18 goals against during a 1-4 run. Not a good look when in your last five games, your leading scorer is Nick Bonino, with four points. Sharks need their top line to step up with the offence and get some quality starts out of James Reimer.
The Lightning roster is operating at near full capacity. Done away are the injuries to their star players, and onward are the Lightning as they march up the Eastern Conference standings. Tampa Bay is getting nice supplementary scoring from Ross Colton, who has potted four goals in their last five games. It’s going to be tough for the Sharks to disrupt the rhythm of the Lightning.
Prediction: Lightning win 4-0
Toronto Maple Leafs vs New Jersey Devils
Head-to-Head Maple Leafs 1-0 Devils
It’s the back end of the home-and-home series for the Leafs and Devils. Toronto managed to overcome a 3-1 New Jersey lead to get a 6-4 victory in Toronto.
The Leafs have been rolling for over two months now and show no signs of slowing. They are dominating on special teams, posting a league-best 32% power play during the month of January. Their penalty kill also ranked third at 88%.
The Devils have completely lost their season. With a record of 15-23-5, they already sit 18 points out of the final wild-card spot. It’s a disappointing outcome for a team that was expected to be more competitive this season.
Prediction: Leafs win 5-2
Winnipeg Jets vs Philadelphia Flyers
Head-to-Head: Jets 0 – 0 Flyers
The Jets and Flyers are both trying to prevent any further stumbling down the standings. The Jets, however, may still have time to turn their season around. The Flyers, at 14-22-8, have all but lost their season. Philadelphia has not been able to get the consistent goaltending and defensive play needed to stay competitive in games this season. Their 3.34 goals against per game is 24th in the league. And they haven’t gotten any bailout from the man advantage either as they sit with a measly 15.4% power play efficiency this year.
The Jets went 4-7, with a six-game losing streak, in January. The Jets were without key members of their roster though. Nikolaj Ehlers, Josh Morrissey, Dylan DeMelo and Logan Stanley all missed time. With everyone back, the Jets should ice a much more competitive team.
Prediction: Jets win 4-3
Washington Capitals vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Head-to-Head: Capitals 1 – 1 Penguins
It’s another battle between long-time rivals, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. These are always games you mark on the calendar, no matter their relevance. Luckily for us fans, there is plenty riding on this matchup.
After a slow start by the Penguins, Pittsburgh has rolled on to take a spot in the top three in the Metropolitan division. They now sit four points ahead of the Capitals, with each having played 45 games. These two will be expected to jockey for position the rest of the season. Unfortunately, with how stacked the Eastern Conference is, there really is no ideal first-round matchup awaiting you, no matter where you seed.
Prediction: Penguins win 5-4
Florida Panthers vs New York Rangers
Head-to-Head: Panthers 1 – 1 Rangers
Welcome to tonight’s featured matchup! In what could very well be a first-round matchup, these two teams will give us our third preview into what we could expect come April.
Florida and New York split their first two meetings, both by a score of 4-3. We should expect another close one by these two. Both clubs have potent offences and formidable goaltending. With the Panthers playing last night, it might be fair to give the edge to the rested Rangers.
The Ranger will play home to the Panthers in this one. With Spencer Knight getting called back up to the taxi squad, and Sergei Bobrovsky playing last night, we will most likely see the young netminder between the pipes for this one. Knight’s coming off a 4-1 win against the Vegas Golden Knights and stopped 37 of 38 shots in his last game for the Charlotte Checkers. He will look to keep that momentum going for the Panthers on the road.
The Rangers are learning to navigate life without their Norris winning defenceman, Adam Fox. Since Fox suffered an upper-body injury on January 27, the Rangers have gone 1-1. The loss of the star puck-moving defenceman will greatly hurt the way the New York offence is able to push the puck up the ice. Fox is also the quarterback of their 10th ranked power play. Lack of offence is not the ideal scenario when you’re about to head into a shootout with the leagues second-most potent offence.
Prediction: Panthers win 3-1