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 Vancouver Canucks vs Colorado Avalanche.
NHL Predictions: March 23rd Including Vancouver Canucks vs Colorado Avalanche
New Jersey Devils vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Head-to-Head: Devils 0-2 Maple Leafs
With all due respect to the Devils organization, this game is a fairly straightforward prediction, even with the rather average play as of late from the Leafs. The Devils have been struggling for the majority of the season, and coming off a game against the Rangers yesterday are going to struggle heavily in this one. The Devils’ defence and goaltending are going to find it very difficult to slow down Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner.
Prediction: Leafs win 5-2
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Penguins 1-1 Sabres
In their third meeting of the season, the Penguins are playing host to the Sabres. These two have split wins this season, with both games being decided by a single goal. This game should be no exception to that trend. Pittsburgh is in the second half of a back-to-back, and Buffalo is coming in healthy and rested and on a two-game winning streak. Look for Tage Thompson to lead the way in what should be a Sabres win.
Prediction: Sabres win 3-2
Chicago Blackhawks vs Anaheim Ducks
Head-to-Head: Blackhawks 2-0 Ducks
This game will be arguably the toughest to predict on the day, and that is entirely due to the fact that neither team has been good this season or recently. John Gibson has been struggling recently, giving up three-or-more goals in his last five starts, giving up four twice and five twice in that stretch. As for Chicago, they traded away Marc-Andre Fleury and will be looking to lean heavily on Kevin Lankinen, who has either looked shaky this season or has been injured. It would be less than surprising to see this become a barn burner very quickly.
Prediction: Ducks win 6-4
Vancouver Canucks vs Colorado Avalanche
Head-to-Head: Canucks 0-2 Avalanche
In the featured matchup of the day, we have the Vancouver Canucks vs Colorado Avalanche. These two teams have already met twice this season, with Colorado winning both of the previous meetings. Both of the previous games came back in mid-November, with the Avalanche winning 4-2 on November 17 and 7-1 on November 11.
While the Canucks have performed admirably under Bruce Boudreau and in front of Thatcher Demko, they don’t have the defensive strength or offensive firepower to keep up with the Avalanche in this one. Colorado is touting a four-game winning streak and a 6-3-1 record in their last 10 games, largely in part due to the improved play in net by Darcy Kuemper and the continued fantastic play by the likes of Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon.
Expect the Avalanche to win this one with ease.
Prediction: Avalanche win 5-1