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 Carolina Hurricanes.
NHL Predictions with Colorado Avalanche vs Carolina Hurricanes
Minnesota Wild vs Detroit Red Wings
Head-to-Head: Wild 1-0 Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings are fresh off of a crushing loss to the Arizona Coyotes. It was a demoralizing defeat that extended their losing streak to three. They had also just lost 6-2 to the Florida Panthers in the game before. That makes six losses in their last eight games and makes them vulnerable tonight, even at home.
The Minnesota Wild haven’t been too hot as of late either. They are only 3-7 in their last 10. In fact, both the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars are starting to nip at their heels. The Wild need a win to help re-establish some separation.
Minnesota might not be playing their best hockey as of late, but despite that, their dynamic offence should be enough to put away a deflated Red Wings team.
Prediction: Wild win 4-1
Philadelphia Flyers vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Flyers 0-2 Panthers
The Philadelphia Flyers managed to squeak out a surprise win against the Vegas Golden Knights earlier this week. That gave them two wins in a row, but unfortunately, extending that to a streak of three seems rather improbable.
The Florida Panthers have already beat the Flyers twice this season. They’ve also won four games in a row and have a league-leading 4.12 goals per game average. That’s a terrific matchup against a Flyers team that averages 3.38 goals against per game, which is 24th in the league. The Flyers also struggle to score, managing only 2.52 goals per game.
In both facets, the Panthers are superior. Add in Florida’s outstanding 25-6 record at home, and this should be a Panthers victory.
Prediction: Panthers win 5-2
Winnipeg Jets vs New Jersey Devils
Head-to-Head: Jets 1-0 Devils
The Winnipeg Jets are a hard team to pin down this season. They are technically still apart of the Wild card race, if only slightly, but have been largely average this year. They are middle of the pack in all of offence, defence, special teams, and goaltending. That explains why they have had such a hard time finding any sustained stretches of consistency. On any given night, it is extremely difficult to gauge how they will perform.
The New Jersey Devils have been a bit more predictable in this regard, albeit due to regularly underperforming. They do, however, have two wins in a row against quality opponents. Both were on home ice and that is where they’ll be at tonight. Jack Hughes is starting to catch fire a bit and could provide enough of the offence to give the Devils their third straight win.
This one should be high-scoring, but the Devils are at home and have some momentum.
Prediction: Devils win 6-4
Columbus Blue Jackets vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 1-0 Islanders
Realistically, both of these teams are out of the playoff race by now. The Columbus Blue Jackets have at least a slim chance, but even they sit at least 10 points out of the last Wild Card spot with a pair of tough teams to catch.
There isn’t a ton to watch for in this one, but the Blue Jackets have more to play for and the New York Islanders have been an underwhelming bet for much of the year.
Prediction: Blue Jackets win 3-2
Colorado Avalanche vs Carolina Hurricanes
Head-to-Head: Avalanche 0-0 Hurricanes
This is as good as it gets. Two of the best teams in the entire league square off for the first time in what could, realistically, be a preview of a potential Stanley Cup Final.
The Colorado Avalanche are being lead by Cale Makar who is having a dominant season. He now has 21 points in 13 straight games, with more than 25 minutes played in seven straight. This isn’t only one of the best seasons by a defenceman in the past several years, this is shaping up to be one of the best ones of all time. That isn’t an exaggeration. It’ll be incredibly intriguing to see how his game matches up against another elite team.
The Carolina Hurricanes are rolling right now. They have only one regulation loss in their last 10 and have re-taken first place in the Metropolitan Division with a stranglehold. They’ll be at home tonight where they are a superb 21-4-2.
In this matchup, the Avalanche have the higher-output offence, but the Hurricanes have much more of an ability to suppress. In that case, generally speaking, the more defensive team has an advantage, especially if they are at home with the matchup edge. Add in the fact that despite the Avalanche’s success, they’ve lose three of their last four and suddenly Carolina’s chances look pretty good.
This one hopefully hits extra time, but the Hurricanes get the win.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 4-3 (OT)