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 Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning.
NHL Predictions: March 3rd including Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Ottawa Senators vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Senators 1-0 Panthers
The last time these teams met it was a blowout, but not for the Panthers as many would assume. The Senators came away with an absolutely massive 8-2 win courtesy of a big night from Drake Batherson and Josh Norris and a very poor outing for Spencer Knight. Considering Batherson is out with an injury still and Knight is unlikely to start this time around, it is highly unlikely to see a repeat of this score.
It should be said that Ottawa has been much better this season than many expected, but even with Florida in a bit of a slump, the Panthers should have no issue winning this game. Look for Jonathan Huberdeau and company to rack up a healthy score in a comfortable win.
Prediction: Panthers win 5-2
Minnesota Wild vs Philadelphia Flyers
Head-to-Head: Wild 0-0 Flyers
This game could be an interesting one, and not because it is going to be a close matchup. The Wild have been quite poor as of late, going 3-7-0 in their last 10 games, but the Flyers are the outright worse team in this game. This will be interesting for one reason, and it is how this can help Minnesota blow themselves out of their respective funk.
Prediction: Wild win 4-0
Carolina Hurricanes vs Washington Capitals
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 0-1 Capitals
Prior to the season, this is a game that many would have written down as one to keep an eye on. That might not have changed much, but it is a little less close than previously expected.
With how well defensively Carolina has been playing this season, and Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho continuing to be point-producing stalwarts, the Hurricanes are a freight train that few teams would dare stand in the way of. Pair this with the fact that the Capitals have lost their last three games and are 4-6-0 on their last 10 games and the writing on the wall starts to become a little more legible.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 4-2
Vancouver Canucks vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Canucks 0-1 Islanders
This is the second, and final, meeting for these two organizations this season. The Islanders are all but eliminated from the playoffs, and the Canucks look like they still have a chance to squeak in. This could very well play a huge deciding factor in this game.
Outside of the typical storyline about something to fight for, the Canucks have looked to be the better team of the two this season. Outside of their absolutely pitiful penalty kill, Vancouver looks to be in a bit of a revival season under Bruce Boudreau. If they can continue to rely on Thatcher Demko, which they likely can, and get a bit of point production from Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller, they should come out as the victors in this one.
Prediction: Canucks win 3-2
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head-to-Head: Penguins 1-1 Lightning
For the featured matchup of the day, we have the Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning. If the previous two games between these two are any indication, expect to see a fair bit of goals in this game.
Pittsburgh is on a respectable roll as of late, going 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and winning the last two. This is, in large part, due to the ever-impressive Evgeni Malkin, who hasn’t seemed to have lost a step after returning from surgery, who has seven points in the last five games and 21 in 19 games this season.
For Tampa Bay, it is the usual culprits leading the charge. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy once again finds himself in Vezina Trophy consideration with 29 wins to go with a 2.27 GAA and an impressive .921 save percentage. Pair this with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov performing over a point-per-game pace and you have the recipe for a Stanley Cup contender.
This is a very difficult game to predict, but it is difficult to pick against the Lightning with how they have been playing as of late.
Prediction: Lightning win 5-3
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