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 Anaheim Ducks vs Edmonton Oilers.
NHL Predictions with Anaheim Ducks vs Edmonton Oilers
Boston Bruins vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Bruins 0 – 1 Islanders
The Bruins seem to be caught up in a bit of a slump as of late. With only three wins in their last nine games, Boston is finding themselves struggling at the wrong time. Luckily they’ve built themselves a nice points cushion ahead of the teams below them in the standings. So, barring an absolute collapse, the Bruins will still be headed to the dance come April. But this slump isn’t doing them any favours in trying to climb the standings and perhaps get themselves a home playoff berth.
The Islanders had a slim chance coming out of the All-Star break to make a run at the Bruins for the final playoff spot. They had games in hand, and a big winning streak could have got them in striking distance. But the Boatmen completely misfired. They came up short in losses to the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, and lastly a 6-3 spanking, courtesy of the lowly Buffalo Sabres.
Bruins need this one a lot more than the Islanders.
Prediction: Bruins win 4-2
Seattle Kraken vs Winnipeg Jets
Head-to-Head: Kraken 0 – 1 Jets
The Kraken are down to playing for pride at this point in their season. The new franchise had hopes of giving their fans more to cheer for but it has been a miss all around this year. To make matters worse, trade rumours are swirling around their newly minted captain, Mark Giordano. Pierre Lebrun reported the other day that the 38-year-old veteran defenceman may be getting shipped out. With the losses piling up, and players looking to get dealt at the trade deadline, this Kraken squad is really struggling to have any sort of identity. Let’s see if they can rebound from their latest crushing defeat, a 6-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
There’s still belief in the Jets’ locker room that they can make a push for the playoffs. There are three teams ahead in the standings that they’d need to leapfrog, so it’ll be a tall order. But by no means impossible. They will, however, need to not leave points on the board when playing teams at the bottom of the standings, as they did against the Chicago Blackhawks the other night. Mark Scheifele, who has seven points in his last five games, will look to lead his team to a crucial two points.
The Jets should be motivated in this one.
Prediction: Jets win 4-1
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Jackets 0 – 1 Blackhawks
There may not be a whole lot to play for in this one, but there is still plenty of entertaining hockey to be had. When you have guys like Patrick Kane and Patrik Laine sharing the ice, you can expect some electric performances.
Laine has been heating up as of late. His five goals and nine points in the last five games lead his team. His counterpart, Kane, also leads the way for his team, with five points in his last five games. It’s a bit off the pace of the Finnish sniper, but we all know that Kane is capable of exploding on the scoresheet at any given moment.
With the Columbus Blue Jackets giving up third-most goals this season, that explosion of points could come as early as tonight.
Prediction: Blackhawks win 4-3
Vancouver Canucks vs San Jose Sharks
Head-to-Head: Canucks 1 – 0 Sharks
Now, this is a game with a lot to play for. Both the Canucks and Sharks sit outside the playoff picture but are only five and seven points out, respectively.
The Sharks are coming off a tough loss against the Edmonton Oilers in the Evander Kane reunion game. The Sharks couldn’t muster much of anything and when they did create scoring chances, they were stonewalled by a hot goalie. Things don’t get easier in that department though. Canucks goalie, Thatcher Demko, has a .945 save percentage across his last five games and had 51 saves in his last start versus the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Canucks got a gutsy two points off the Leafs the other night. It’s no small task taking down the Eastern Conference powerhouse but hot goaltending from Demko helped them prevail. The Canucks will want to do a much better job of limiting the number of shots they face when they go up against the Sharks.
With a few days off for both teams between their last games, we should see a highly energized matchup here.
Prediction: Canucks win 4-3 OT
Anaheim Ducks vs Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Ducks 0 – 1 Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers are experiencing a resurgence in their game since Dave Tippett was fired. Jay Woodcroft is 3-0 in his NHL coaching debut. And he has the Oilers playing a type of game much different from the one their former coach did.
There is plenty of emphasis on balance in the Oilers game plan. Balance in the way that they aren’t loading up minutes for Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Yes, those two are still getting ample playing time, but the bottom six group is seeing a lot more ice. The result has been seeing those players find their groove in the game and, as a result, finding the back of the net more often. The Oilers have gotten goals from guys in the bottom six in two of their last three games. And those “grind lines” have done an excellent job shutting down their opponents. The bottom six have only allowed one even-strength goal against in their last three games.
The Ducks have watched these very Oilers leapfrog them in the standings this last week. While Edmonton has rode a three-game winning streak, the Ducks have lost two in a row. We are expecting this to be a back and forth battle for a place among the top three in the Pacific Division the rest of the year. And if the last time these two teams met is any indication of what to expect in tonight’s matchup, expect a high-speed game with ample scoring opportunities.
However, the Ducks are playing on back-to-back nights. With a battle the previous night against the Calgary Flames, the fatigue may show.
Prediction: Oilers win 5-3