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 New York Rangers.
NHL Predictions with Vancouver Canucks vs New York Rangers
Vancouver Canucks vs New York Rangers
Head-to-Head: Canucks 1-0 Rangers
After demolishing one of the best teams in the league, the Canucks will look to get the two points vs a suddenly decent 5v5 team in the Rangers. The Rangers are coming off of a win over the Capitals where they dominated in net as usual courtesy of the destined hart trophy winner Igor Shesterkin. On Thursday the Canucks finally got their special teams and offence going. It’s perfect timing as they make the push for a wildcard spot. The Canucks have slowly worked their way back into being a solid defensive team which they can use vs this overperforming Rangers team.
On the powerplay, they should be keying in on netfront master Chris Kreider who has the most tip/tap in goals in the NHL. At 5v5 the Canucks should look to use the Ranger’s weak transition game to their advantage by creating off the rushing. Quinn Hughes could be a difference-maker in this game if he’s able to be the main puck mover. The entire game depends on if Shesterkin is in the net and if the powerplay is firing on all cylinders. All in all, expect Boudreau to have this team ready for some 5v5 hockey.
Canucks win 3-2
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Head-to-Head: Penguins 1-0 Blue Jackets
The Penguins are finally getting out of their slump, you can take a deep breath Penguins fans. Meanwhile, in Ohio, the Blue Jackets are on a roll after winning four straight before a 4-0 loss to Carolina. The last time these two teams played we saw the domination of no one other than Sidney Crosby himself collecting his first hattrick of the season. The Penguins come into this one after a stellar defensive statement game vs the New York Rangers.
The Penguins will need to contain red hot Patrik Laine who has 15 points in his last nine games. Columbus will want to limit chances and look to beat the Penguin’s transition game. Pittsburgh has the chance to really control this game and use it as a see what’s working game as their next opponent is Tampa Bay. Standings wise Columbus is 10 points behind the second wildcard spot withheld by the Boston Bruins. After a big win on Saturday, you can expect the Penguins to come out slower on Sunday. With that, the Penguins should still have no problem in this one.
Penguins win 3-0
New York Islanders vs Anaheim Ducks
Head-to-Head: Islanders 0-0 Ducks
The Ducks are very close to a playoff spot although they have games in hand. The Islanders on the other hand are going to get a very good player in this year’s draft. The issue for both these teams hasn’t been defence, it’s been offence and their ability to ultimately create any high event chances. This really isn’t shocking due to each team’s limited depth scorers. In addition to 5v5 offensive struggles, both teams have a hard time on special teams.
The top point-getters on each team are none other than youngsters Troy Terry and Matt Barzal. In net, the Islanders definitely have the edge as the Russian Ilya Sorokin has had a pretty good season giving the Islanders a chance to win in each start he’s gotten. The Islanders are not a fast team. They’re rated quite low on zone entries, forechecking, and transition play which is not like them in past years. Anaheim should definitely take advantage of this with the speed they get from their younger players. If the Ducks are able to get their offence going they should have no problem outplaying the Islanders and coming out with a win.
Ducks win 2-1
Seattle Kraken vs San Jose Sharks
Head-to-Head: Kraken 2-0 Sharks
The battle of last place in the pacific division comes to fruition as these two teams play for the third time this season, the Kraken defeating the Sharks in both previous matchups. Seattle is in the dumps of their first season being losers of six in a row. The key player in this game would have to be Tomas Hertl who’s in mainly all trade/free agency rumours. The Czech native has had a good season being a solid player at both ends of the ice while leading the Sharks as their second top point-getter.
San Jose will definitely need to play a smart entry game as Seattle’s defensemen can recover pucks quickly and shoot it up to their wingers. The Kraken should look to use their strong forechecking play style as if they can get the Sharks defenders under pressure they should have a good offensive zone presence all night. Due to their strong defensive game, the Kraken will be able to get the two points vs Seattle.
Kraken win 3-1