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 New York Islanders vs Montreal Canadiens
NHL Predictions with New York Islanders vs Montreal Canadiens
New York Islanders vs Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Islanders 1 – 1 Canadiens
Our feature matchup tonight features two teams that entered the 2021-2022 season with significant expectations. The Montreal Canadiens were coming off a miracle run that saw them lose in the Stanley Cup Final to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Islanders made the playoffs for the third consecutive season and lost to Tampa as well, but in the semi-finals. Neither outcome is in the cards for either team this season. Instead, they’ll each have small victories to look ahead to as the end of the year draws near. One of them is winning the rubber match against tonight’s opponent.
The Islanders fly into Montreal having played in Pittsburgh last night. With Ilya Sorokin getting the start, Semyon Varlamov will likely take the crease tonight. He owns a 9-15-2 record this season with a 2.86 GAA and a .914 SV%. Despite the poor record on the season, Varlamov has found success against the Canadiens over his career. He’s only lost once in regulation, sporting a lifetime 6-1-1 record with two shutouts.
Opposing Varlamov will be two of the Canadiens best players – Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. Since Martin St. Louis took over as Head Coach on February 9th, they have played 29 games. Suzuki has 29 points and Caufield has 30 points over that span. The Canadiens, like the Islanders, have nothing to play for based on the standings. However, these two kids have proven that the future in Montreal is a bright one.
Prediction: Canadiens win 4-2
Winnipeg Jets vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Jets 0 – 1 Panthers
The Winnipeg Jets are desperate to win games. They sit outside of a playoff position with three teams to hop. The math isn’t good, which prompted some Jets trade deadline moves. Nonetheless, they’ll keep pushing until they are mathematically eliminated. One key player that will be added back to the equation tonight is Blake Wheeler. The Jets Captain has missed the last three games with an upper-body injury. He has 54 points in 57 games this season and will look to continue contributing offensively to secure an important two points for Winnipeg tonight.
The Florida Panthers continue to be one of the best teams in the NHL. They are currently riding an eight-game winning streak, matching the season-high they put together to start the year. Their recent run has given the Colorado Avalanche some competition at the top of the league standings for the President’s Trophy. Leading the charge for the Panthers, as he has all season long, is Jonathan Huberdeau. Huberdeau has an incredible 105 points in 73 games. He has points against every opponent he’s played this season except for one – The Winnipeg Jets.
Prediction: Panthers win 3-2 in overtime