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 Tampa Bay Lightning.
NHL Predictions: May 6th including Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Carolina Hurricanes vs Boston Bruins
Series: Hurricanes 2 – 0 Bruins
After two games into this series, it looks like the Carolina Hurricanes are in complete control. They have outscored the Bruins 10-3 and have made it look all too easy. Their biggest opponent at this stage of the series may be the health of their own players. The Hurricanes had to resort to third-string goalie, Pyotr Kochetkov. Kochetkov was between the pipes after starting goalie Antti Raanta was forced to exit following a collision with Bruins forward David Pastrnak.
It remains to be seen whether he will be returning to the crease and making his first career playoff start.
Speaking of netminders, Jeremy Swayman will be getting the nod tonight after Linus Ullmark failed to stop the ‘Canes from running up the score in games one and two. The Bruins face a must-win game here as the series turns to TD Garden. There is a considerable amount of playoff experience in that dressing room, so the Bruins feel confident they can turn this thing around at home.
Prediction: Bruins win 3-2 OT
Minnesota Wild vs St. Louis Blues
Series: Wild 1 – 1 Blues
After two games we have seen two very different games. The St. Louis Blues put on a clinic and shut out the Wild 4-0. But things drastically changed in game two when, after being held without a shot in the first 10 minutes, the Wild scored on their first two shots. The flood gates would open from there and the Wild cruised to a 6-2 win.
Kirill Kaprizov recorded the franchise’s first-ever playoff hat-trick. It looked as though Joel Eriksson Ek had the honour of the first hat-trick but an offside call would overturn his history-making goal. The honour would soon fall to the young Russian phenom who would pot the team’s sixth goal and put the game to bed.
The Wild will look to keep those sticks hot tonight. As for who their victim will be, at the time of writing this, there is no word on if Ville Husso will get the start following their latest loss. Waiting in the wings in Jordan Binnington who hasn’t started since April 26.
The Blues were very productive at home this season (26-10-5) and will look to maintain home-ice advantage with a win tonight. The Blues had great possession numbers at home and will need to flex that against this deep Wild team.
Prediction: Blues win 4-2
Edmonton Oilers vs Los Angeles Kings
Series: Oilers 1 – 1 Kings
The series shifts to California now as the Kings look to rebound after a disastrous 6-0 loss to Edmonton. After looking very good in the opener, the Kings failed to stay disciplined and let the league’s third-best powerplay go to work on them all night. The Oilers are 50% on the powerplay this series, having converted four times on eight tries. If the Kings are to win this series, it’s imperative that they keep the game five-on-five.
The Oilers will look to take their first playoff series lead since 2017. It was a full team effort in a brilliant 6-0 rebound game after dropping the opener. Goaltender Mike Smith did his part in silencing his critics with a 30 save shutout. The Oilers scored even-strength goals, power-play goals, and a short-handed goal. The top six-unit has been productive and they are getting supplemental scoring from the back-end with Darnell Nurse and Evan Bouchard getting on the scoresheet.
It’s hard to poke holes in the game of a team that just won 6-0 but the Oilers would surely like to stay more disciplined. Their penalty kill was average this year and though they haven’t conceded a power-play goal against (8/8 PK) it’s best not to tempt fate.
Prediction: Oilers win 3-2
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Series: Maples Leafs 1 – 1 Lightning
Speaking of discipline, the Leafs had better find a way to stay out of the box or this series will be over quick. After an incredible game one performance, the Buds marched themselves to the box seven times. You just can’t do that against the Lightning with their lethal power-play. What’s encouraging, however, is that this year the Leafs’ stars are getting on the scoresheet. Both Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner have two goals and five points apiece through the first two games. The young stars will look to carry this momentum into game three and reclaim home ice with a win tonight.
As for the Lightning, they are right where they want to be. After feeling out the series in the first game, the Lightning did what they have done the last two years in the playoffs. Not lose back-to-back games. Andre Vasilevski is now 15-0 when coming off a loss. Now that’s a championship pedigree stat.
The Lightning has a raucous barn in Tampa. And their fans have been waiting patiently to see their team once again make a run to the Cup Final. The Leafs will need to get out to a quick start and silence the crowd and zap the energy out of the building.
This series has been lopsided in both games but expect the games to get much tighter from here on out.
Prediction: Lightning win 4-3
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