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 Vegas Golden Knights vs Pittsburgh Penguins.
NHL Predictions with Vegas Golden Knights vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Minnesota Wild vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Head-to-Head: Wild 0 – 0 Blue Jackets
The Wild have been able to pump the brakes on a nasty slide in their season. The Wild limped through a stretch of 10 games where they went 2-8 before putting together back-to-back wins in their last two games. Minnesota was sitting comfortably in second in the Central Division standings but are flirting with falling into a wild card spot.
Minnesota now goes up against one of the streakiest, most unpredictable teams in the NHL, the Columbus Blue Jackets. These guys have been one of the hardest teams to predict all year. Some nights they show up with all the offence and other nights it’s like they forgot to dress their goalie. Coming off a 6-0 loss to the New York Islanders, one would hope to see a rebound from the Blue Jackets.
Prediction: Wild win 4-3 OT
Winnipeg Jets vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Jets 0 – 1 Islanders
The Jets and Islanders have nearly identical records through their last 10 games. Both are 4-4-2, with the Jets scoring 35 goals and the Islanders having put up 34.
The last time these two teams met it was a goalie battle, with the Islanders coming away with a narrow 2-0 victory. With the offensive outpour by both these teams in their recent games, we could get excited about a goal-fest in this one too.
Anders Lee of the Islanders is hot, having posted six points in his last two games, including a Patrick the other night against the Blue Jackets.
Leading the way for the Jets is star forward, Mark Scheifele, who has five points in his last two games and eight in his last five.
Should be another close battle in this one.
Prediction: Islanders win 3-2
Washington Capitals vs Vancouver Canucks
Head-to-Head: Capitals 0 – 1 Canucks
New life has been breathed into the city of Vancouver. A recent surge in their last ten games (8-2) combined with Vegas slipping, has the Canucks just four points out, with a game in hand, for the third seed in the Pacific Division.
The Canucks get the Capitals, who are on the third matchup of their western road swing. The hope for Vancouver will be that fatigue is setting in for the Caps, who will be playing three time-zones over from what they are used to. It’s a little thing but it does play a factor.
The Capitals have fallen out of a top-three spot in their division and now sit last in the Wild Card. There isn’t any panic coming from the club though, as they still have quite a big cushion (13 points) over the Blue Jackets.
This Capitals team knows how to score in bunches, so Vancouver better be at their best defensively if they look to snag a win at home and keep pace in the playoff race.
Prediction: Canucks win 4-3 OT
Vegas Golden Knights vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Head-to-Head: Golden Knights 0 – 1 Penguins
Jack Eichel’s return to Buffalo was spoiled last night after a 3-1 loss where both Alex Tuch and Peyton Krebs (the players he was traded for) scored. Eichel was a little sour after the game, throwing a chirp at the fans of his former team. Head coach Peter DeBoer will hope his star forward can channel that emotion back onto the ice in a critical matchup against the Penguins.
Vegas has seen their lead atop the Pacific Division standings all but vanish. They sit only four points ahead of the wild card spot with both the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks hot on their heels.
Winning against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins is never an easy task, but the Pens have a very pedestrian 15-14 home record this season. Vegas is a strong road team. Eichel and company have every bit of a chance to waltz into Pittsburgh and knock off the Pens.
Crosby is currently on a seven-game point streak and has recorded at least one point in 19 of his last 22 games. In that time he has amassed 14 goals and 32 points, reminding everyone, that even at 34 years old, he is still very much at the top of this league.
The Penguins are a well-oiled machine. They have a strong power play (14th) and an even stronger penalty kill (4th) that helps aid this perennial Stanley Cup contender to win after win each night.
Get ready for a highly entertaining battle in this one.
Prediction: Penguins win 4-1