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 With Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Carolina Hurricanes vs Boston Bruins
Series: Hurricanes 2-1 Bruins
After the first two games of this series, this looked like it could have easily turned into a sweep for the Hurricanes. But with Game Three going back to Boston, the Bruins were able to pull out a respectable 4-2 on Friday. Game Four is also in Boston, so the Bruins will be hoping the home-ice advantage comes through again.
In the third game of the series, the Bruins got admirable performances from Brad Marchand (1-2-3), David Pastrnak (1-1-2), and young goalie Jeremy Swayman, who made 25 saves on 27 shots against. If they have any chance of avoiding the uphill battle that is a 3-1 series lead, they will need these three to continue to put in these kinds of performances.
As for the Hurricanes, their big names went missing in action. Teuvo Teravainen and Andrei Svechnikov had no points with only two shots respectively. Sebastian Aho also turned in the same performance as the prior two. And for goaltending, young goalie Pyotr Kochetkov looked like exactly what he is, a young goalie that will face inconsistencies.
This game should buck the trend of bad special teams from Carolina, and fall back in line with how these teams have fared against each other this season. Look for the Hurricanes to steal a win on the road and head back to Carolina with a 3-1 series lead.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 3-2
Minnesota Wild vs St Louis Blues
Series: Wild 2-1 Blues
The series between the Wild and Blues has resulted in a lot of goals, with all three games being decided by four goals respectively. Unfortunately for the Blues, Ville Husso has not been able to steal them multiple games, after putting in a massively impressive 37-save shutout in Game One.
Minnesota looks like they have gotten their offence going, so this trend is unlikely to change. Both Ryan Hartman and Kirill Kaprizov have looked more like themselves in the last two games, and Game Four should be much of the same. Even if Husso puts in a good performance, which he almost certainly will, the Wild should win this one.
Prediction: Wild win 4-1
Edmonton Oilers vs Los Angeles Kings
Series: Oilers 2-1 Kings
Edmonton has seemingly figured out the very rudimentary puzzle that is the Los Angeles Kings in the last two games of this series. The Oilers won 6-0 in Game Two and 8-2 in Game Three. Wins like this do a massive amount of good for morale for them, and that should play well in their favour going into the fourth game of the series.
Expect to see Leon Draisaitl, Evander Kane, and Connor McDavid continue to pick apart the average defensive corps of the Kings. Regardless of who is in between the pipes for Los Angeles, this should be another win for the Oilers.
Prediction: Oilers win 5-1
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Series: Leafs 2-1 Lightning
In what is arguably the most exciting series so far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, we have the Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning. This series has seen 20 goals in the first three games, with goal-scoring taking the lead over goaltending, something that comes as no surprise to anyone.
Auston Matthews has picked up in this series where he left off in the regular season, potting two goals and adding three assists thus far. Mitch Marner has also done his fair share, with two goals and four assists of his own. Andrei Vasilevskiy has found it nearly impossible to do anything to stop these two, posting a rather pitiful 3.72 GAA to go with a .890 save percentage to this point.
There is only so much that the Lightning can continue to lean on scoring to save them. If they are to stand a chance of avoiding a 3-1 Leafs series lead, Vasilevskiy is going to have to pull his weight. Look for the former Vezina Trophy winner to break his slump and help the Lighting to bring this series back to even odds.
Prediction: Lightning win 4-2
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