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 Arizona Coyotes vs Calgary Flames.
NHL Predictions with Arizona Coyotes vs Calgary Flames
San Jose Sharks vs Dallas Stars
Head-to-Head: Sharks 1-1 Stars
A shakeup could be in store for them this summer, while the Stars try to maintain a playoff berth in the present. The Vegas Golden Knights are the most likely team to push them down the stretch, as they duel one another on the cut line of the bubble.
Simply put, Dallas has more on the line. With their own trio of aging veterans, Joe Pavelski certainly doesn’t look like a 37-year-old scoring at a point-per-game pace. If San Jose got that kind of play from their vets, maybe they’d be in a similar spot as Dallas…
Prediction: Stars win 5-4 OT
Carolina Hurricanes vs Colorado Avalanche
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 1-0 Avalanche
It’s difficult choosing a loser between these two squads. They combine for over 100 wins and each lead their respective divisions. The Avalanche look poised for a President’s Trophy repeat, with seven different 20-goal scorers in their lineup. That figure includes Cale Makar, who will likely finish in the top two defencemen in the Norris Trophy race. The 23-year-old could break 30 goals for a Colorado team that set new a franchise-high in wins for a single season.
Those kinds of stats are so remarkable, they deserve a lot of attention. But it’s hard to keep raving when just a day or two later the records are re-written yet again with another victory. The Hurricanes will have their hands full, but they also solved the Avs just a month ago with a 2-0 shutout victory. That remains the only time Colorado has been shut out all season. Good luck repeating that at altitude in Denver!
Prediction: Avalanche win 3-2 OT
New Jersey Devils vs Seattle Kraken
Head-to-Head: Devils 1-0 Kraken
Just a couple of non-playoff teams battling it out, here. No implications on the playoffs, just implications on the NHL draft lottery. Seattle remains in the lowest tier of teams this season, with a very real chance of finishing dead-last. New Jersey sits in the second-lowest tier, but is arguably the worst team in that tier and will more than likely draft in the top five this summer.
That doesn’t mean there’s nothing worth watching here, though. Seattle signed Matthew Beniers to an entry-level contract after Michigan lost in the NCAA Frozen Four. He picked up an assist in his first NHL game, playing 17:10 with a fantastic relative Corsi of 16.8% to boot. This will be his first home game, so there’s absolutely some excitement brewing in Seattle to change the dynamics of what would otherwise be a throwaway game.
Prediction: Kraken win 3-1
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Los Angeles Kings
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 0-1 Kings
The Kings sat pretty until dropping four of their last five. That really opened the door for Vegas to catch up, sitting within range to leapfrog LA thanks to games in hand. The race certainly isn’t over yet, as they should get in by finishing ahead of one of Vegas, Nashville or Dallas. All sit within a couple of points of one another, so the last eight to nine games for these teams all feel like must-wins.
And against a non-playoff Blue Jackets team, the pressure to win stacks even higher. The Kings topped Columbus on the road in early March, so has confidence they can do the same on home ice. Anze Kopitar leads them (as always) upfront, while Patrik Laine has been Columbus’ most potent scorer. The Blue Jackets’ season falls in the very center of mediocrity for the season, and it’s hard to see the path forward with their current group.
Prediction: Kings win 4-2
Arizona Coyotes vs Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Coyotes 0-2 Flames
Putting it bluntly, Arizona does not win often. Calgary, on the other hand, does. Johnny Gaudreau broke the 100-point mark on the season. Meanwhile, Clayton Keller leads the Yotes with under a point-per-game despite being out for the season since March 31st. Even Karel Vejmelka, their starting goalie who just received a three-year extension, barely sits above the .900% save percentage line (.902%). The Flames have literally doubled the Coyotes’ win count. They also beat Arizona twice in regulation already this season.
Betting on Arizona to win this one might have the lowest odds league-wide today.
Prediction: Flames win 6-2