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 Tampa Bay Lightning vs Toronto Maple Leafs.
NHL Predictions with Tampa Bay Lightning vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Boston Bruins vs Carolina Hurricanes
Series: Bruins 0-1 Hurricanes
The first game of this series went much the way that many thought it would, albeit by a bigger goal difference. The Hurricanes manhandled the Bruins, pushing their way to a 5-1 win thanks to balanced scoring and a 29-save win from Antti Raanta.
If the Hurricanes can continue to be as staunch defensively as they have been, goaltending should not be an issue. And expect to see bigger performances from players like Andrei Svechnikov and Sebastian Aho, meaning a similar result to the first game of this series.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 4-2
St. Louis Blues vs Minnesota Wild
Series: Blues 1-0 Wild
The first game of this series was arguably the most surprising score of the playoffs to this point. General consensus around the league was that the Wild could easily run away with this series, but it seems the Blues have something else to say about that.
The Blues got a four-point performance from David Perron, a player who many forget consistently performs just below a point-per-game pace. On top of that, Ville Husso continued right where he left off in the regular season. He put the Blues right on his back and carried them to an impressive win in Game One.
If the Wild are to stand any chance in this series, they are going to have to win this game. And for that to happen, star forward Kirill Kaprizov is going to have to put in a performance better than the performance he put out in Game One.
Prediction: Wild win 3-2
Los Angeles Kings vs Edmonton Oilers
Series: Kings 1-0 Oilers
This series is a bit of a tricky one. Neither of these teams were overly impressive for the entirety of the season. The Kings coasted into the playoffs because no one else in the Pacific could put pressure on them. And the Oilers continued to score at will and have long stretches of defensive and goaltending issues.
The first game of this series showed that isn’t changing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This game, and the rest of this series, is likely going to be a matter of who scores last. And with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl both over the 100-point mark, this should tip the needle in favour of the Oilers. If Mike Smith can put in a decent performance, they will even this series up. That is, if he is playing. Edmonton’s Head Coach said he knows who will start Game 2 but wasn’t announcing it until later today. Regardless, Edmonton needs a good goaltending performance.
Prediction: Oilers win 3-2
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Series: Lightning 0-1 Leafs
For the featured matchup of the day, we have the Tampa Bay Lightning vs Toronto Maple Leafs. Game One of this series saw a lot of goals. That being said, it surprised everyone with all of them coming for Toronto in a 5-0 routing of the Lightning.
There are a lot of things you could point to as the folly of the Lightning in Game One of this series. Two are going to be vital to tying this series: more shots on goal and capitalizing on the man advantage. Tampa Bay had five powerplay opportunities in the first game and scored on none of them. On top of that, they only managed to muster 24 shots on goal. Only eight on the man advantage, making for a relatively straightforward 24-save shutout for Jack Campbell.
With how Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner are playing, both of whom had three points in the first game, the Lightning have to be looking at this as a must-win game. If Andrei Vasilevskiy can pull himself out of his slop and they can get the offence going, they can do just that.
Prediction: Lightning win 4-3