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 Ottawa Senators.
NHL Predictions with Toronto Maple Leafs vs Ottawa Senators
Philadelphia Flyers vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Flyers 0 – 1 Sabres
It’s been a long, hard season for the Philadelphia Flyers and their fans. After what was seemingly a great offseason, injury and poor play have plagued them to the point where the Flyers sit in 29th in the NHL standings. They’ve won just twice in their last 10 games as they head into a home-and-home against the Sabres. The Flyers brass is taking this opportunity to get a look at some of their rookies. Bobby Brink (who recently signed an entry-level contract), Ronald Attard and Noah Cates have all made their NHL debuts recently and are expected to be in action this weekend.
The Buffalo Sabres are in a similar position to the Flyers but with a little less doom-and-gloom. It appears the Jack Eichel saga was hanging over Buffalo and the organization all season long. When he finally returned on March 10th in a Golden Knights uniform, the Sabres had an opportunity to turn the page – and they did just that. Buffalo beat Vegas that night and have a 9-6-3 record since. Over that 18-game span, Tage Thompson leads the way with 10 goals and 18 points.
Prediction: Sabres win 4-1
Washington Capitals vs Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Capitals 2 – 0 Canadiens
The Washington Capitals had their four-game win streak snapped when they lost convincingly to the Maple Leafs 7-3 on Thursday night. The game also marked an end to Alex Ovechkin’s four-game goal streak. Ovechkin sits at 46 goals with eight games remaining in the regular season. He has 33 goals in 51 career games against the Canadiens.
Having played the New York Islanders last night at home, the Montreal Canadiens welcome the Caps into the Bell Centre tonight. They finally saw the return of franchise goalie Carey Price, so tonight will likely be Sam Montembeault‘s turn. Montembeault has faced the Capitals just once in his career. He stopped all eight shots he faced in a relief appearance.
Prediction: Capitals win 3-2
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Ottawa Senators
Head-to-Head: Maple Leafs 2 – 1 Senators
Our feature game this evening is the ‘Battle of Ontario’. After defeating the Maple Leafs in their season-opener, the Senators have lost the last two meetings.
Toronto is 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. They’ve been playing great hockey on the heels of their superstars as they strive for home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Auston Matthews was held off the scoresheet for the second-straight game on Thursday night but picked up two assists to eclipse the 100-point plateau. He became just the third player in Maple Leafs history to record 100 points in a single season, joining Maple Leafs greats Darryl Sittler and Doug Gilmour who’ve each reached that mark on two separate occasions.
The Ottawa Senators did the Maple Leafs a favour last game. They beat the Bruins 3-2 in regulation to capture their second-straight win. Now they’ll look to continue to play spoiler against a long-time rival on Hockey Night in Canada. The Senators are getting significant offensive contributions from most of their top players. Over their last 10 games: Josh Norris – 12 points, Brady Tkachuk – 12 points, Tim Stutzle – 13 points. Mathieu Joseph, who will likely miss his second-straight game due to injury, also has 12 points in his last 10 games.
Prediction: Senators win 4-3 in overtime
Winnipeg Jets vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head-to-Head: Jets 1 – 0 Lightning
The Winnipeg Jets have been scratching and clawing in the standings for what seems like an eternity. After playing the Florida Panthers last night, they cruise into Tampa Bay for what’s sure to be another hard-fought game. The path for the Jets to get into the postseason is filled with obstacles – two games in Florida before heading to New York to play the Rangers and Carolina for a tilt with the Hurricanes. After that, two of their final four games are against the Colorado Avalanche and the Calgary Flames. And they’ll possibly have to do it all without Mark Scheifele. Good luck.
The Lightning on the other hand, have far more security. Home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs is still in reach, and with just two of their final eight games against playoffs teams, you bet they’re striving for it. After going 2-3-2 in their last seven games, the Lightning will be looking to get on the right track as the playoffs draw near. One player that needs to find his form quickly is goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. He’s gone five straight games without recording a win. Vasilevskiy holds a career 4-4-1 record against the Jets with a 3.44 GAA and a .891 SV%.
Prediction: Lightning win 4-2