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 Carolina Hurricanes. Be sure to check out our late predictions as well.
NHL Predictions: March 3rd including Pittsburgh Penguins vs Carolina Hurricanes
Minnesota Wild vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Wild 0-1 Sabres
Kaapo Kahkonen will likely get the start with Cam Talbot starting against the Philadelphia Flyers the night before. Minnesota has been struggling in recent game’s with four straight losses before Thursday night’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Kirill Kaprizov has 64 points coming into Thursday’s games. It’s been a struggle on defence in the four-game losing streak prior to Thursday’s game. The Wild have given up three or more goals, including 12 in back-to-back games against the Calgary Flames.
Buffalo is coming off a huge 5-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Jeff Skinner is having a bounce-back season with his 21st goal in the victory over the Leafs. Tage Thompson has also had a bounce-back year with 23 goals. Craig Anderson leads the team in wins with seven, but the Sabres have been through plenty of goalies this season. Buffalo may be heading towards another season with no post-season, but they’ll compete every night.
The Wild need a win in the worst way and facing the Sabres should fix that.
Prediction: Wild win 4-2.
Detroit Red Wings vs Tampa Bay Lighting
Head-to-Head: Red Wings 0-1 Lightning
Tampa Bay and Detroit played a wild 7-6 game earlier in the season in the only meeting so far. The Lightning came into Thursday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on a five-game winning streak .Andrei Vasilevskiy started that game, so we may see Brian Elliott get the start against Detroit. Steven Stamkos leads the team in goals with 26 while Victor Hedman has 40 assists. This game also has a tantalizing over/under of 6.5 according to BetMGM.
Detroit picked up a 403 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in its last game. The Red Wings are also coming off that seven-goal effort in a 10-7 loss to the Maple Leafs. Dylan Larkin leads with 27 goals while Calder Trophy candidate Moritz Seider has 35 assists. Alex Nedeljkovic likely gets the start, but check social media often for confirmed goalies.
The Steve Yzerman Bowl is always a fun game, but his old team should have the edge.
Prediction: Lightning win 5-3.
New Jersey Devils vs New York Rangers
Head-to-Head: Devils 0-1 Rangers
New Jersey has lost three of its last five, including a 4-3 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets last game. The Devils have averaged five goals in their last three games and got seven in a 7-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Jesper Bratt continues to be a bright spot for New Jersey with 19 goals and 50 points.
The Rangers snapped a mini-losing streak with a 5-3 rally over the St. Louis Blues. Chris Kreider is among the league leaders in goals with 35 and Igor Shesterkin continues to make a play for the Vezina Trophy. The Russian has a 1.98 goals-against-average and .940 save percentage. Alexis Lafreniere has played well over his last 10 games and could be a sneaky play in daily fantasy games.
The Rangers will look to get some goals and this early.
Prediction: Rangers win 4-1.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Carolina Hurricanes
Head-to-Head: Penguins 0-2 Hurricanes
Both teams will be coming off back to back-to-back games, so there could be lineup changes. It’s likely we’ll see different goalies from the previous nights. Casey DeSmith likely goes for the Penguins and Antti Raanta probably gets the crease for the Hurricanes. Carolina does a pair of 4-3 victories over Pittsburgh this season. Sebastian Aho is tops in goals (24) and assists (32) for the Hurricanes.
Pittsburgh is coming off a win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. The Pens have three straight wins and Kris Letang has felt like his old self again with 42 assists in a contract year. Jake Guentzel leads in goals with 25, but Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby are playing like All-Stars as well.
In the battle of backups, DeSmith might be a bit better than Raanta and that’s the difference in a tight game.
Prediction: Penguins win 3-2.