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 Los Angeles Kings vs Minnesota Wild.
NHL Predictions With Los Angeles Kings vs Minnesota Wild
Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals
Head-to-Head: Bruins 2-0 Capitals
The Capitals enter Sunday’s early game with a two-game winning streak and fresh out of a 6-3 win against the Penguins. Boston won in overtime against the Lightning on Friday and are 8-2-0 in their past 10. However, even though both these teams are coming from wins, both are also desperate to continue that trend. Boston is only one point ahead of Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division standings and Tampa is playing Buffalo later on the day.
Washington is six points from the third spot of the Metropolitan Division and needs to keep their streak going if they want to take it. However, unless something really bad happens to these teams to make them drastically decline, both are almost guaranteed in the playoffs. What they’re fighting for is their top 3 spot and home-ice advantage now.
With that said, the Capitals have lost both their games against the Bruins this season and they should be able to sweep the season series.
Prediction: Boston wins, 4-2
Nashville Predators vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Head-to-Head: Predators 1-0 Penguins
The Penguins are putting themselves in a really tough position to finish the season. Even though they’re in the same situation as Washington (will clinch unless something really bad happens), they need to bounce back to keep the third spot in the Metro. They’re currently on a four-game losing streak, including the loss to Washington on Saturday. Their morale is on the floor.
Nashville, on the other hand, is more desperate than Pittsburgh because the Western Conference is wild this season. They’re only two points ahead of Dallas in the wild card and eight points behind the Blues on the third spot of the Central Division. Nashville also needs to worry about the Vegas Golden Knights taking their wild card spot because they’re only two points behind. They need to win as many games as they can in this final stretch to guarantee their playoff spot.
The desperation will help Nashville make a big push to win this game and take it home.
Prediction: Nashville wins, 5-2
Buffalo Sabres vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head-to-Head: Sabres 1-1 Lightning
The Sabres are unofficially eliminated from the playoffs and all they can do now is try to win some games to finish the season well. A big motivator for them is Owen Power signing his entry-level contract on Friday and joining the team in Tampa on Saturday. He won’t dress for the game on Sunday but he will be watching from the stands with general manager Kevyn Adams. His future teammates will certainly try to leave a good impression. The good news for them is that Jeff Skinner is freshly out of reaching 30 goals on Friday and Tage Thompson can’t seem to leave the scoresheet. Those are two key players for them against the Lightning.
Speaking of the back-to-back champions, they’re not doing well to finish the season. They will clinch eventually but Tampa is 4-4-2 in their past 10 games. They’re on a four-game winless streak, losing 2-1 in overtime to Boston. Tampa is only a win away from the third spot in the Atlantic and will have to battle with the Bruins to take it. Having home-ice advantage in the playoffs is a huge factor for Tampa and they’ll surely do their best to take it.
With that said, it’ll be a high event game with both teams trying to take a win – for different reasons. But the Sabres will have a little bit of extra power to help them take a win home.
Prediction: Buffalo wins, 5-4 (OT)
Los Angeles Kings vs Minnesota Wild
Head-to-Head: Kings 1-1 Wild
Both teams have lost their last two games and both are trying to hold on to their spots. The Wild lost in overtime against the Blues but are 7-1-2 in their last ten. Even with those three losses, Minnesota is still playing really well. They’re tied with St. Louis in points but have a two-game advantage over them. After the Blues win against the Islanders on Saturday, the Wild needs to win this one to stay in the second spot in the Central Division.
Los Angeles is only two points ahead of Vegas and three points behind the Oilers in the Pacific Division. If they fall to the wild card, they’ll be competing with both Nashville and Dallas, both of which have two games in advantage. The Kings cannot afford to let that happen. This is the reason why they will come out on the winning end of this game on Sunday, to keep their playoffs hopes and try to keep the home-ice advantage in the process.
Prediction: Los Angeles wins, 3-1
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