NHL Predictions: March 8th Including Florida Panthers vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Florida Panthers vs Pittsburgh Penguins
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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 Pittsburgh Penguins. 

NHL Predictions with Florida Panthers vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Colorado Avalanche vs New Jersey Devils

Head-to-Head: Avalanche 0-0 Devils

The Colorado Avalanche have a great argument as the best team in hockey. They’ve reached the 40 win plateau faster than anyone else, they have the most points, and their +63 goal differential is league best. They are legit.

NHL free agent frenzy

Cale Makar is on another level this season. He’s already bested his career-high in goals, assists, and points, and he has done so now averaging more than 25 minutes of ice time a night. His possession metrics are stellar and he has a great shot at a Norris Trophy this year. He has points in 11 straight and should be more than capable of keeping that streak alive against an inferior New Jersey Devils team.

Prediction: Avalanche win 5-4

Vegas Golden Knights vs Philadelphia Flyers

Head-to-Head: Golden Knights 0-1 Flyers

The Vegas Golden Knights may have won two in a row leading into tonight’s matchup, but over their last 10, they have been a bit more inconsistent. They are 4-5-1 and just haven’t been able to keep sustained momentum. They’ll have a great opportunity to change that pattern against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Philadelphia Flyers are seriously struggling. They are firmly out of the playoff race and have struggled as of late going 2-6-2 in their last 10. The Flyers can’t even boast a home-ice advantage, as their record in Philadelphia is a weak 10-15-5. That’ll clash heavily with the Golden Knights who have actually been better on the road this year than at home, with a 16-8-1 record.

Jack Eichel has certainly made an impact since joining the Golden Knights, but a player to watch tonight is Jonathan Marchessault. He has points seven points in his last five games, including four goals. He should be a major factor tonight, in a Golden Knights win.

Prediction: Golden Knights win 3-1

Arizona Coyotes vs Detroit Red Wings

Head-to-Head: Coyotes 1-0 Red Wings

Something strange has been happening to the last place Arizona Coyotes lately… they’ve started winning. They’ve won their last two games and four of their last six. Three of those wins have been against quality opponents too, with each of the Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights, and Dallas Stars suffering losses against the desert dogs.

Nick Schmaltz has been a major contributor to this recent success. He has 11 points in his last seven, including a whopping seven in the Coyotes’ win against the Ottawa Senators. Schmaltz should be able to keep that momentum going against a Detroit Red Wings team that has a minus 40 goal differential on the season.

The Red Wings have been in a schedule slump as of late. Each of their last seven opponents have been top three teams in their respective divisions. That’s a tough road and the Red Wings have suffered as a result, going 2-5 in that stretch.

A game against a weaker opponent, and a return back to Detroit (where they are 16-11-3), are exactly what they need to correct things after a tough stretch.

Prediction: Red Wings win 4-2

Ottawa Senators vs St. Louis Blues

Head-to-Head: Senators 0-1 Blues

The St. Louis Blues are a strong team. They are 32-16-7 on the year with an impressive +43 goal differential. That’s the third-best differential in the Western Conference. They’ve lost three in a row, but this is more of a blip on the radar than a genuinely concerning dip in play.

Plus, three losses in a row isn’t as bad as the Ottawa Senators, who have lost five straight and seven of their last eight.

The Blues have the fifth-best goals for per game average, as well as the sixth-best goals against per game average. They also boast two special teams units that sit in the top five of the league in percentage efficiency. The Blues are balanced and can win in a variety of ways. The Senators, unfortunately, can’t say the same. The Blues should win this one running away.

Prediction: Blues win 5-2

Florida Panthers vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Head-to-Head: Panthers 1-1 Penguins

The season series between these two comes to a close tonight, in their third and final encounter of the regular season. The Pittsburgh Penguins have been playing consistent hockey for weeks on end now and in the process have worked their way into third place in the Metropolitan. They’ll have a chance to move into second with a win tonight, and a New York Rangers loss.

The Florida Panthers moved back into first place last night, which means they are on the second half of a back-to-back, with travel involved. That can usually be a struggle for teams. Plus, despite the Panthers’ success, their road record is anything from perfect, at 13-7-5. Compare that to their stellar 25-6 home record and a decent drop-off in play is obvious.

That’ll give the Penguins the advantage here. The Penguins can’t quite score like the Panthers – heck, the Panthers have scored more goals than anyone – but the Penguins do have a stellar defensive game. Their 152 goals against is fifth-best in the league, a full 12 goals better than the Panthers.

The Penguins should be able to lock it down at home, against a tired Panthers club.

Prediction: Penguins win 3-2 (OT)

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