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 10th Including Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Carolina Hurricanes vs Boston Bruins
Series: Hurricanes 2 – 2 Bruins
Home ice advantage has been true to its word in this one! After the Hurricanes jumped out to take the first two games in impressive fashion, the Bruins responded with convincing wins of their own back at the Garden. The Canes are fine if this song and dance continue as they hold home-ice advantage through the series, but surely they’d like to put this series to bed before seven games.
With the Hurricanes returning home, coach Rod Brind’Amour will look to take advantage of the home-ice advantage and give his boys ideal matchups. Something he couldn’t do the last two games and it showed. Boston has all the momentum in this series now. The breadth of playoff experience on the Bruins side has shown through and they are flexing their playoff muscles on the Carolina.
But it wouldn’t be the playoffs without some extracurriculars happening on the ice. Tempers are beginning to mount in this series and coincidentally the top two offensive producers in this series, Brad Marchand and Tony Deangelo, are in each other’s kitchen. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, that’s not where you want Marchand to be right now. That style of play is right up his wheelhouse and he is only just getting started.
This now best of three is set up to be a wild finish.
Prediction: Bruins win 3-2
Minnesota Wild vs St. Louis Blues
Series: Wild 2– 2 Blues
Much like the rest of the series in this article, this series has been as unpredictable as they come. It’s been tough to get a good read on either of these teams as it seems neither wants to show up 100% to each game.
The Blues have turned to Jordan Binnington once again to lead them in their crease. Binnington, who backstopped the Blues to their first Stanley Cup, had not made an appearance in the playoffs yet after having lost his previous nine playoff starts. He looked shaky to start but settled in nice and got his team back to even with the Wild.
Ryan O’Reilly is leading the charge offensively for the Blues, as he usually does. O’Reilly is almost a point-per-game player in the players over his career and currently has six points in four games through this series. The Blues would really like to see Vladimir Tarasenko get going. Tarasenko has just one goal and two points through four games and is a disastrous minus 6. The Blues can surely take hold of this series if they can get their top three lines rolling.
As for the Wild, unsurprisingly they are being led by their Russian phenom, Kirill Kaprizov. Kaprizov has five goals in four games for the Wild and coach Dean Evason is leaning on him heavily to bring the production. He’d love to lighten the load on his star but the depth scoring hasn’t quite been there for the Wild, aside from Joel Eriksson Ek. Matt Boldy only has one point so far as well as Kevin Fiala.
Wild needs to dig deep in this one if they are to get the Blues off their rhythm and get back in control of this series.
Prediction: Blues win 4-2
Edmonton Oilers vs Los Angeles Kings
Series: Oilers 2 – 2 Kings
Talk about an unpredictable series. After the Oilers poured in 14 goals in two games on the Kings, the So-Cal squad shut out the high-flying Oilers.
Edmonton failed to show any sort of killer instinct in last game’s 4-0 loss. With an opportunity to go back home with a 3-1 series lead, the Oilers rolled over and took a hard ‘L’ to the Kings.
If Edmonton wants to take back this series they first need to smarten up defensively. The Oilers have surrendered 40+ shots in back-to-back games. Mike Smith can only do so much.
Coach Jay Woodcroft isn’t concerned about getting his offence going after being shut out but does want to make it much harder for the Kings to get to their net. Defencemen and the forwards alike need to step up and play a stronger 200-foot game if Edmonton wants to put the Kings away for their first playoff series victory since 2017.
The Kings however look poised to take this series back. After winning the first game, the Kings seemed to get away from their game and the results showed. But coach Todd McLellan had his team getting back to the basics and what has made them a force to play all regular season long. Strong two-way play.
Anze Kopitar and Phillip Danault continue to lead the way in that department. That second line of Danault, Trevor Moore, and Carl Grundstrom is having their way with the Oilers. The line has combined for 12 points in the series thus far and an overall plus six. Those are impressive numbers considering how many goals the Oilers have poured on this series.
That line will surely be the x-factor tonight. Let’s see how Woodcroft plans to use his home-ice last-change advantage to slow that Kings second line.
Prediction: Oilers win 3-2
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Series: Maples Leafs 2 – 2 Lightning
It is a massive game tonight for the Leafs as they try to put the defending champs on the brink of elimination. Toronto, like Edmonton, failed to find that killer extinct to take a stranglehold on this series.
Toronto has been plagued by inconsistent play all series from everyone not named Auston Matthews or Mitch Marner. Goaltender Jack Campbell has gone back and forth with his play and as a result, saw himself get yanked from the crease in game four. The Leafs had an opportunity to take advantage of the Lightning while they were getting their legs under them. But after last game’s 7-3 win from Tampa, it looks like the Championship Machine is well-oiled.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper took advantage of his home-ice advantage and wreaked havoc on the Leafs all game long. Toronto couldn’t get any sort of flow going. But Toronto has a chance to get ahead once again and it will surely be on the back of their stars, Matthews and Marner. Both players have two goals and six points and are a combined plus four.
Where Toronto could really use some help though is from their captain, John Tavares. Tavares has just two points all series and was horrific in both games at Tampa. Well, horrific for his standards. Tavares was a minus two over 36 shifts in his last two games and only mustered two shots and an assist in garbage time.
The Leafs need a lot more from their captain. Now is the time for him to lead the way.
Prediction: Lightning win 4-2
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