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 New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins.
NHL Predictions: May 15th Including New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Calgary Flames vs Dallas Stars
Series: Flames 3 – 3 Stars
The most important pieces here remain the goaltenders. Jacob Markstrom owns a .945 save percentage and 1.52 goals-against average for Calgary. Opposite him, Dallas’ Jake Oettinger carries a .954 save percentage and 1.69 goals-against average. Game six came down to the wire yet again, too. Without empty-net goals, every game in this series would’ve been decided by a single goal.
Calgary really needs to win this one. They entered heavy favourites, with a high-octane offence and elite goaltending all season. The Stars squeaked into the playoffs late, thanks in part to the Vegas Golden Knights horrid season-ending stretch. Oettinger probably deserves the most credit on their side for getting this series to go the distance. However, on the road in an elimination game, the Stars may end their run playing with house money.
Prediction: Flames win 2-0
New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Series: Rangers 3 – 3 Penguins
Wow, this did not feel like a series poised to end in game seven just four days ago. But then, Jacob Trouba concussed Sidney Crosby. Before that moment? The Penguins looked great, riding a 2-0 lead in game five. A win there would have ended the series, sending the Rangers to the offseason with just a single playoff win to their names. But immediately after the injury, the Rags potted three goals in three minutes. They added two more to win it 5-3.
Fast forward two days, and yet again, the Pens carried a 2-0 lead early in the second. New York scored three, naturally. While Pittsburgh drew it even, Chris Kreider sealed it with under 90 seconds left on the clock before Andrew Copp added an empty netter. Some Penguins fans cross their fingers in hopes for a Tristan Jarry return for game seven. After all, riding third-string Louis Domingue started to loom large as the losses began. His save percentage sits under the .900 mark, too. Just finding another save or two could have been the difference earlier, especially Kreider’s soft game-winner in game six.
So, how will it end? The Rangers hold the home-ice advantage and won two of the three games played at MSG thus far. Igor Shesterkin registered all his best games at home, too. Pittsburgh may be stuck with a third goalie, and without their captain in a pivotal game. The cards feel stacked against them.
Prediction: Rangers win 4-1
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