NHL Predictions: February 18th Including Florida Panthers vs Minnesota Wild

Panthers vs Wild
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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 Florida Panthers vs Minnesota Wild.

NHL Predictions with Florida Panthers vs Minnesota Wild

Nashville Predators vs Carolina Hurricanes

Head-to-Head: Predators 0 – 1 Hurricanes

The only meeting between these two teams was played early in the season. The Hurricanes rolled into Nashville and won a tightly-contested game 3-2. The first star of the night was Frederik Andersen who stopped 38 of 40 shots.

Frederik comes into tonight’s game with a remarkable 27-5-2 record. He has a career-best .928 SV% and a 2.07 GAA which puts him in third place among all goalies with at least six games played. He also owns a lifetime record of 10-2-0 against the Predators. Upfront for the Canes, the hottest player has been Andrei Svechnikov. The 21-year-old Russian has six goals in his last seven games and currently sits with 44 points in 44 games this season.

Opposing Andersen and the Hurricanes tonight is likely to be Juuse Saros. Saros has been a large part of the reason why the Predators currently sit in a playoff spot with game 50 of the regular season set to be played. He sports a .924 SV%, ranking right behind the Carolina netminder. In talking about reasons for success, it would be a crime not to mention former Norris trophy winner Roman Josi. Josi comes into tonight on a six-game point streak. He currently ranks third behind Victor Hedman and Cale Makar for the lead in points among defensemen.

Prediction: Predators win 2-1

Florida Panthers vs Minnesota Wild

Head-to-Head: Panthers 1 – 0 Wild

Two of the league’s top teams face off in our feature game. In each of their last 10 games, the Panthers have seven wins while the Wild have eight.

As evidenced by their league-leading 197 goals this season, the Florida Panthers are getting contributions up and down the lineup. One of the best of the bunch has been star defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who just surpassed his career-high in points with a two-point effort that included the overtime winner last game.

On the Minnesota side, all eyes will be on Kirill Kaprizov because well, how could they not be? Kaprizov’s combination of skill and grit has added an infectious new dimension to the Wild. His 59 points rank him in the top 10 in scoring. Linemate Mats Zuccarello is benefitting from being on the ice with a superstar every night. At age 34, he ranks second behind Kaprizov with 48 points in 39 games. The two of them have been one of the NHL’s best duos this season.

Prediction: Wild win 3-2 in overtime

Dallas Stars vs Chicago Blackhawks 

Head-to-Head: Stars 1 – 0 Blackhawks

The Dallas Stars have been scratching and clawing to remain relevant in the Central Division playoff picture. Since returning from the all-star break, they are 3-1 with wins over Nashville, Winnipeg and Colorado. With another divisional matchup on tap for tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks who played last night, another win is important. The ageless wonder Joe Pavelski continues to lead the way for the Stars with 52 points this season. He has 44 points in 52 career games against the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks are back in action after losing to the Blue Jackets last night. In goal for this one will be Marc-Andre Fleury after Chicago elected to go with backup Arvid Soderblom for the first half of the back-to-back. Amidst trade rumours, Fleury has stabilized his game after a slow start to the season. He has a 2.88 GAA and a .910 SV% this season. Patrick Kane, who quietly has 47 points in 46 games this season, has scored more goals against the Stars in his career than any other team in the league. He has 30 goals in 60 games.

Prediction: Stars win 3-2 in overtime

 Los Angeles Kings vs Vegas Golden Knights

Head-to-Head: Kings 1 – 1 Golden Knights

The Kings and Golden Knights have split the season series thus far, each scoring six goals in blowout victories in each other’s buildings. With just four points separating them, picking up two tonight is imperative.

The Kings will play just their second game since the all-star break. They lost 5-2 against Edmonton at home on Tuesday. Despite the long layoff, the Golden Knights will need to the aware of the line of Phillip Danault, Viktor Arvidsson and Trevor Moore. They have a combined 19 points over their last seven games.

The Golden Knights welcomed Jack Eichel back to the lineup on Wednesday, but unfortunately, the Avalanche spoiled his debut and shut them out. Eichel will look to respond tonight against the Kings, a team who he’s had success against with 11 points in nine career games. In goal, Robin Lehner is expected to be out again, giving way for Laurent Brossoit to take the net for his second straight start. Brossoit has a 9-4-2 record this season with a 2.62 GAA and a .906 SV%.

Prediction: Golden Knights win 4-3

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