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 Calgary Flames vs Minnesota Wild.
NHL Predictions with Calgary Flames vs Minnesota Wild
Nashville Predators vs Colorado Avalanche
Head-to-Head: Predators 2 – 1 Avalanche
The Predators and Avalanche square off tonight in what could very well be a preview into a first-round matchup. The Preds aren’t locked in as the second Wild Card team, so a win tonight could help them avoid a first-round date with the powerhouse Avs. Their prize? A first-round date with the powerhouse Calgary Flames!
Regardless of their opponent, the Preds are just happy to officially be in the playoffs after starting the year with most pundits predicting they’d be golfing next week. The Predators have matched up nicely with the Avalanche this year, and that has to bode some confidence in the group that they are capable of pulling off the first-round upset.
The Avalanche has been in cruise control for the better part of a month. Now, it’s time for them to kick it up a notch and get up to playoff speed in these last couple of regular-season games. The Avs are built for a deep run and are marked as the favourite to come out of the Western Conference.
This game should have every bit of a playoff atmosphere to it!
Prediction: Predators win 4-3 OT
San Jose Sharks vs Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Sharks 0 – 3 Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers will be looking for the season-series sweep tonight. With home ice and their first-round opponent locked in, one may think there isn’t much to play for. But that’s not how coach Jay Woodcroft wants to view this game. The Oilers have looked dialed into Woodcroft’s system and now isn’t the time to stray away from that. Right now is a good time to keep the foot on the gas whilst continuing to fine-tune some details in their game. Plus, putting together a winning streak before heading into the playoffs is the ideal way to enter the dance with some confidence.
As for the Sharks, they are looking to put a close to another miserable season. There were some bright spots early on but they quickly faded into the basement of the Western Conference. As much as Sharks president Jonathan Becher doesn’t want to admit his team needs a full rebuild, it’s time to do it. Even if it means making some of his veterans upset.
Prediction: Oilers win 4-1
Los Angeles Kings vs Vancouver Canucks
Head-to-Head: Kings 1 – 1 Canucks
Well, it was a good try, but the Vancouver Canucks late-season run was all for naught. The Canucks were a team that was predicted to make the playoffs at the start of the season. But they stumbled out the gates and their players that were meant to drive this team (minus J.T. Miller and Quinn Hughes) couldn’t get going. It’ll be a long offseason for a team that fell way short of expectations.
Now in come the Kings, who defied all the pundits and booked their ticket to an improbable playoff appearance. The Kings, like the Oilers, will be using this game as a tune-up to get things locked in so they can hit the ground running when the playoffs start. Two-way forward stalwart, Phillip Danault leads the way as of late with four games in the Kings’ last five games. Danault, the playoff x-factor, is just the guy you want to be heating up at this point in the season.
Prediction: Kings win 3-2 OT
Calgary Flames vs Minnesota Wild
Head-to-Head: Flames 2 – 0 Wild
The Flames have owned the Wild in their two matchups this season. Calgary has outscored the team from the Twin Cities 12-4. It’s a very lopsided outcome considering not much separates these two in the standings. But perhaps this is a peek into just how good Calgary is. Or dare I say, how good the Wild were at deceiving us this year. We’ll leave that for another article. But the Flames are the real deal. They have arguably the most complete game in hockey right now and will be a force in the playoffs, no matter their opponent. This is the final matchup between these clubs unless we see them again in the Western Conference Finals.
Getting to the Western Conference Finals will be a mission for the Wild. Minnesota has drawn the toughest first-round matchup in the West, having to play the St. Louis Blues. And after that, they could be facing the Avalanche in round two. But this Wild team has plenty of belief in themselves. And they’d love to make a statement win against the Flames tonight to remind everyone that they are the real deal. Oh ya, and there’s that little thing called home-ice advantage that they still need to lock up!
Prediction: Flames win 4-2