NHL Predictions: April 4th, Including Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning
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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 Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning.

NHL Predictions With Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Boston Bruins vs Columbus Blue Jackets

Head-to-Head: Bruins 2 – 0 Blue Jackets

Tonight’s game is the second time in just three days that the Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets will face each other. The Bruins took the last meeting and will look to complete the sweep of the season series. For Columbus, the goal will be to get back on track by snapping their six-game losing streak. The 5-2 score of the last matchup was deceptive, as Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins actually put on a solid display, stopping 37 of 40 shots for a .925 save percentage. However, five Bruins players – including Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron – recorded two or more points in that contest. Overall, there isn’t really a reason to believe that this game will go any differently than the last.

Prediction: Bruins win, 6-3

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Head-to-Head: Maple Leafs 1 – 1 Lightning

With the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning currently tied at 93 standings points apiece, tonight’s game will decide who edges ahead in the Atlantic Division playoff race. Having annihilated the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, the Maple Leafs are now on a four-game winning streak. The Lightning, however, have struggled with consistency, with their latest loss coming at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens in a shootout.

For Toronto, Auston Matthews is firing on all cylinders. He has a league-leading 51 goals on the season and has scored once in each of his last five games. His point streak is even longer, spanning 12 games. On the assists side, Mitch Marner is also continuing to produce. He has 11 assists in his last five games, along with a goal. And against the Flyers, Jack Campbell put up above a .900 save percentage for the first time since mid-February.

Tampa Bay’s stars have been having success, as well. Nikita Kucherov recorded three points in two of his last three games and has nine points through his last five. Brayden Point has eight points in that same stretch – four goals and four assists. And Andrei Vasilevskiy has been steady as usual, with a .918 save percentage over his last five starts.

Though the Maple Leafs have looked strong lately, the Lightning should have the advantage in goaltending. As such, Tampa Bay should pull off a close win tonight.

Prediction: Lightning win, 4-3

Arizona Coyotes vs St. Louis Blues

Head-to-Head: Coyotes 1 – 1 Blues

The Arizona Coyotes and St. Louis Blues are at opposite ends of the Central Division, with Arizona in last and St. Louis in third. However, the head-to-head is an even split, with the Coyotes having taken their last meeting. Arizona will have a more difficult time this time around, as Clayton Keller – who leads the team in every scoring category – is out for the season. On the other hand, St. Louis’ Robert Thomas has been racking up points recently, with three goals and six assists in his last five games. Expect the Blues to come out on top in this matchup.

Prediction: Blues win, 4-1

Calgary Flames vs Los Angeles Kings

Head-to-Head: Flames 1 – 1 Kings

Though the Calgary Flames still sit atop the Pacific Division, they’ve had a rough last few games, entering this contest on a three-game losing streak. They fell to the Los Angeles Kings in a shootout last Thursday. That night, Johnny Gaudreau logged a goal for the Flames. He has 10 points through his last five games. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom also had a noteworthy performance, stopping  30 of 32 shots for a .938 save percentage. On the Kings’ end, Lias Andersson scored the shootout-winning goal, and Adrian Kempe added an assist for a total of six points through his last five games. Still, Calgary is, overall, the stronger team. They should be able to bounce back and break their losing streak.

Prediction: Flames win, 3-2

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