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 Boston Bruins vs Minnesota Wild.
NHL Predictions with Boston Bruins vs Minnesota Wild
Boston Bruins vs Minnesota Wild
Head-to-Head: Bruins 0-1 Wild
As we reach the tradeline this is a matchup of two buyers. The Boston Bruins are an old team trying to get the most out of the last few years of their stars. Minnesota is a young team who will contend for years but want to win right now. In addition to trade deadline noise, both teams are concerned regarding their position in the standings. Minnesota is tied with Nashville points-wise with a game in hand, Boston is battling Washington for the first wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Minnesota Wild are currently in a slump losing seven of their last 10. Boston on the other hand has won 8 of 10. This game will feature the two best defensive teams in the league. Both teams are excellent in front of their own nets. The Wild have a slight edge to their offence which has some great pieces upfront. In net, the Wild will likely face Jeremy Swayman who’s had an excellent season for the Bruins being the best rookie goalie this year. The Wild are going to have to use their strong zone entry game to try and get into the zone against the Bruins league-best defence who deny tons of entries against. I feel the Bruins’ advantage in net and on the blueline will help propel them past the Wild.
Bruins win 3-1
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 0-1 Senators
The battle of two non-playoff teams. The Senators have been blessed with some excellent goaltending from Matt Murray and Anton Forsberg lately. Although Columbus won’t be a likely top 10 draft lottery team, they’re still lower in the standings as are the Senators. The Columbus Blue Jackets are actually top 10 in the league for goals per game so the Senators better pray for good goaltending. Or they don’t so they fall in the standings. The downside to Columbus’s feat is they allow the league’s most goals against. Not the best formula for winning. Ottawa will definitely need to be on their game offensively as their goalies can bail them out occasionally although they can’t just let them walk into the slot for high event hockey.
The key player in this game is Oliver Bjorkstrand who is extremely lethal off the rush due to his ability to create chances right after entering the zone. If it wasn’t for their defending, the Blue Jackets could very well be a top team as they sit right with the top teams in the league in many categories. Ottawa should definitely look to play a fast pressured game vs Columbus as they have a hard time getting the puck out below the goal line, minus Zach Werenski. Columbus’s offensive ability should panic Ottawa so expect a Blue Jackets win.
Blue Jackets win 4-3
New Jersey Devils vs Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Devils 1-0 Flames
After a hard-fought loss to the Avalanche, the Flames will be looking for offensive redemption vs a draft lottery Devils team. The Calgary Flames are simply a monster. They’re insane in every aspect. From offence to defence to in goal to special teams to on the bench, they have everything. The Devil’s limitations have included their powerplay, goaltending, and ability to play defensive hockey. This is honestly expected when you have a very young forward group.
New Jersey has been blessed with one of the best lines in hockey featuring Jesper Bratt, Yegor Sharangovich, and Jack Hughes. The area New Jersey excels in is having possession when they enter the zone. Unfortunately for New Jersey, Calgary has a big defensive core that denies most entries creating chances up the ice. The Devils should use their speed to break up the neutral zone. If they want any chance to win this game they’ll need shots and to really just play annoying hockey. Johnny Gaudreau is licking his lips waiting for this game.
Flames win 5-2
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Seattle Kraken
Head-to-Head: Lightning 1-0 Kraken
The reigning back-to-back champions look to put up a two-way performance after a mediocre 4-4 start to March. The Lightning has been collapsing defensively which has been their downside as it’s clear they have the offence to win games. The difference-maker in this matchup will be goaltending. If it wasn’t for horrid goaltending, the Kraken would definitely be in a better position in the standings. Tampa has always gotten consistent goaltending from arguably the best goaltender in the world in Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Once again the Lightning is taking the just get in the mindset. They arent a killer team in the regular season, they do their damage when it matters. Although Seattle is solid defensively, the Lightning is lethal below the slot so they’ll give the Kraken a run for their money. They create all their offence off of the forecheck so if Seattle can’t move the puck fast they have no chance. Seattle should look to capitalize vs the Hedman-Rutta pairing due to their weaker defensive play. Tampa needs this win to keep home ice vs their most likely opponent, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Lightning win 3-2
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