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 Colorado Avalanche vs Boston Bruins.
NHL Predictions with Colorado Avalanche vs Boston Bruins
Colorado Avalanche vs Boston Bruins
Head-to-Head: Avalanche 1-0 Bruins
After an alarming win against Buffalo, Colorado looks to roll over the defensively sound Bruins. Boston’s issues this season have come from their inability to score. They can create offence but they don’t finish off their chances. Colorado on the other hand is an absolute juggernaut in the NHL due to their ability to play offence and defence. Both teams play the same rush forecheck style of offence. It really comes down to depth. The Avalanche have probably the deepest team in the entire league on both offence and defence.
The player to watch will definitely be Cale Makar who has six points in the last four games. In net, we will likely see a solid battle between Darcy Kuemper who has been hot lately and Jeremy Swayman who has been the better Bruins goalie this season. To win this game the Bruins will really need to deny entries and ultimately suppress the Avalanche’s avalanche of offence. Standings wise the Bruins really need this win but it’s hard to imagine them pulling one off against the top team in the NHL.
Avalanche win 4-1
Carolina Hurricanes vs Philadelphia Flyers
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 1-1 Flyers
There isn’t much to preview for this game. It’s laughable how different these two teams are. In conclusion, one is very bad and the other is very good. After putting on a clinic vs the Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina is looking to get all the points they can for the best playoff spot they can get. Their offence is fascinating to watch. They’re smooth, make crisp passes, and have extreme chemistry throughout all lines. Not only that but they have depth throughout the entire roster. Although they aren’t the greatest team defensively, their offence outweighs any flaw they have.
Philadelphia, on the other hand, has no offence or defence. The one thing they do have is a solid young goaltender whose numbers are only bad because of how atrocious defensively the team is. The Flyers will likely be facing Frederick Andersen which makes this game even worse for them. To survive this game, the Flyers should look to their forwards to support the defence down low and ultimately get the puck out. Carolina creates primarily all their offence off the forecheck which has shown to be an issue for most teams. Good luck Flyers fans.
Hurricanes win 5-1
Winnipeg Jets vs Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Jets 1-0 Flames
What can you say about the Calgary Flames the past nine games? Demolition. These two rivals face off in Alberta with it being a big game for both teams. The Flames sit first in their division with games in hand on the Vegas Golden Knights, whereas Winnipeg is in the wildcard hunt currently seven points out from the second spot. The single way to draw someone into hockey would be for them to watch the Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm line, it’s a thing of beauty.
The Jets are undoubtedly one of the most unlucky teams in the NHL finishing-wise. In net, they haven’t received consistency from former Vezina winner Connor Hellebuyck this season either. Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom has received the Vezina consideration with his stunning performance so far this season with 12 goals saved above expected. The Flames have done the job defensively to support Markstrom’s numbers whereas the Jets haven’t done Hellebuyck any favours. The Jets need to match lines in this game. The top defensive pairing and forward line vs the Flame’s top lines will be huge if they wish to win this game. As it’s always a physical matchup this should be a good one between cross Canada rivals.
Flames win 4-2
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Leafs 1-0 Canadiens
As these two teams continue their destiny, a Stanley Cup and “pain for Shane”, they go to battle for the second time this season. Under new coach Martin St Louis, the Canadiens have managed to slightly improve but they really couldn’t have gotten much worse. Toronto is coming off a shellacking from the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night so they’ll be looking for a dominant effort at both ends of the ice.
A player to watch will be Mitch Marner as he looks to continue his hot streak vs a weak rival team. The Canadiens will want to stay out of the box if they want to go away quietly in this one as the Leafs’ powerplay is hot as usual. They may even want to stay off of the powerplay as the Leafs have a shorthanded streaker going. Toronto’s keys to the game are to put together a full 60 minutes of solid play. Montreal should look to suppress chances against, especially in the slot. The Leafs should have no problem putting the Canadiens away and coming within one point of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Leafs win 3-0
Seattle Kraken vs Vancouver Canucks
Head-to-Head: Kraken 0-2 Canucks
After almost pulling off a win vs the red hot Flames, the Kraken will look to pounce on a defeated Canucks team. Coming off a very rough 7-4 loss to the Anaheim Ducks, the Canucks will be desperate for the two points as they try to stay in the wildcard race. These two teams are very alike. Both are average defensively but atrocious offensively. If you look at each bottom-six you would know why that is. The main area where these teams excel is getting the puck up the ice post-dump-ins. Along with this both teams take on the dump and chase forecheck mentality rather than creating off the rush. Special teams are neither team’s strong suit either.
So what will this game come down to? It will ultimately come down to goaltending. Both teams have their offensive weapons and both mediocre goaltending so it will simply come down to which goalie is able to pull through. Vancouver likes to generate offence to the right of the goalie whereas Seattle generates their offence at the point due to their offensive defencemen. The player to watch will be Jared McCann who has put together his best season in the NHL. Being desperate for playoff points, the Canucks should come out on top in this one.
Canucks win 2-1