Welcome back to NHL Predictions! Each day, Last Word on Hockey takes a look at every game going on. We analyze them and give our predictions for each game, showing what to expect. Yesterday, the NHL Playoffs kicked off round two and we have another pair of Game 1’s today. Our featured game of the night for NHL Predictions is the Edmonton Oilers vs Calgary Flames.
NHL Predictions with Edmonton Oilers vs Calgary Flames
New York Rangers vs Carolina Hurricanes
Series: Rangers 0 – 0 Hurricanes
This will be an interesting series, to say the least as both of these teams went to Game 7 in their last series. The Rangers clawed their way back from a 3-1 hole to win Game 7 in overtime and will be looking to take that momentum with them. Despite being pulled twice, Igor Shesterkin rebounded brilliantly and will have to be the backbone of this team again for them to have a chance. Look for the usual suspects in Adam Fox, Artemi Panarin, and Chris Kreider to kickstart the offence. The one thing the Rangers need to try and change early in this series is the possession. They were dominated at 5v5 for large stretches of the last series and if you let this Carolina team do that, you will be in trouble.
The Hurricanes series was a different type of Game 7. Each game of the series was won at home, and to be honest, most of the games weren’t particularly close. The Hurricanes absolutely dominated at home, with Game 7 being the only close one. And even that game was made 3-2 with just 22 seconds left.
The big thing they will want to try and adjust for this series is finding a win on the road, as Shesterkin is capable of stealing any game no matter how well you play. Lucky for Carolina, they will be starting at home in front of a crowd that will be going nuts. Look for that boost to give them the start of this series.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 4-2.
Edmonton Oilers vs Calgary Flames
Series: Oilers 0 – 0 Flames
The Battle of Alberta is squaring off for the first time in the playoffs since 1991. Despite the lack of playoff matchups, there is no lack of hatred between these two teams. We have seen multiple games get chippy each year, which was only increased when they played eight times last season! Tonight, Calgary will look to slow down Connor McDavid who took Games 6 and 7 of the last series into his own hands.
However, they will also need to be aware of Evander Kane who had a great first round. The Flames will feel confident in net with Jacob Markstrom, what will be interesting to watch is to see how Mike Smith plays. He finished with a great save percentage last round but wasn’t always tested in some blowout games. This series will be much tighter and they need the great Smith they have seen at times this season.
One thing to watch from Edmonton’s point of view is how Leon Draisaitl looks. He was clearly nursing an injury last round that looked really painful in Game 7. The Oilers will need his full value on the power play but if he is not 100% at 5v5 they will desperately need some depth to step up. Crucial games from the likes of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Zach Hyman will be critical in keeping this series close.
On the blueline, the Oilers will be looking for Darnell Nurse to eat big minutes. He took a headbutting suspension last series and missed Game 6, that can’t happen again. It will be interesting to see if this Oilers defence can withstand the pressure of a very deep Flames offence. Look for the likes of Milan Lucic to use the body early tonight and get the crowd into it.
Prediction: Flames win 3-2 in Overtime.