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 Vancouver Canucks vs Edmonton Oilers.
NHL Predictions with Vancouver Canucks vs Edmonton Oilers
Chicago Blackhawks vs Colorado Avalanche
Head-to-Head: Blackhawks 0 – 0 Avalanche
Our first game for NHL Predictions, simply based on last year’s standings alone, is a colossal mismatch. However, it’s a new season, with a fresh slate to work with, so anything can happen right? Well, probably not in this case, but there’s still a lot to like in this game.
It’s our first chance to evaluate a Colorado Avalanche team that’s lost some key pieces. It’s the debut of two new starting goaltenders making their debut for each of their respective teams, with Alexandar Georgiev for the Avalanche and Petr Mrazek for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Cale Makar‘s quest for more hardware begins as he looks to capture a second-straight Norris Trophy and possibly a Hart Trophy while he’s at it. It’s also the likely start of the goodbye tour for the Blackhawk’s two franchise mainstays, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
The odds seriously favour the Avalanche in this one, but there are enough storylines and star power to make this one a lot of fun.
Prediction: Avalanche win 5-2
Seattle Kraken vs Anaheim Ducks
Head-to-Head: Kraken 0 – 0 Ducks
This Pacific Division matchup pits two of the most exciting young offensive prospects in the game against one another. Last season’s Calder Trophy runner-up, Trevor Zegras, will go head-to-head with one of this year’s Calder Trophy favourites, Matty Beniers. It’s an electric way to start the season for two teams who are looking to defy some pretty pessimistic predictions about either squad’s outlook this season.
There are a couple of additional key factors worth monitoring here. One, how does newly-signed John Klingberg impact an Anaheim Ducks‘ blueline that desperately needs some help? Two, does the Seattle Kraken‘s big free-agent signing, Andre Burakovsky, and their fourth-overall selection, Shane Wright, give them the firepower they need to be more competitive?
This one should have a good amount of offensive flair considering the top-end talent available and the lack of depth on either side. In the end, though, the Ducks have just a bit more to like at this point, especially after signing centreman Ryan Strome.
Prediction: Ducks win 6-4
Vancouver Canucks vs Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Canucks 0 – 0 Oilers
This will be the fourth straight season opener between the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers, with the Oilers holding a 2-1 record in that span.
For the Canucks, the 2022-23 season represents a chance to right the ship. They haven’t made the playoffs in two straight years and it’s led to an overhaul in coaching and management. Their club remains relatively stable compared to last year but will feature a full preseason of Bruce Boudreau behind the bench, and an exciting new rookie in Andrei Kuzmenko. The Canucks expect more out of the core that they have built and tonight’s tilt against the Oilers will be a great first test.
We take our home opener 3-2 over the Canucks! #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/qyR9zXsjA5
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 3, 2019
The Oilers enter this season with a much different mindset. The franchise was thrilled with their best performance since 2006 and now see a clear path to the Stanley Cup. They’ve brought back key midseason additions Evander Kane and Brett Kulak and signed free-agent goaltender Jack Campbell in the hopes of shoring up their only major weakness. It’s full steam ahead for a club that views its window to win as completely wide-open.
The Canucks’ relatively weak blueline could sting them tonight against what should be one of the league’s very best offences. Superstar netminder Thatcher Demko will keep things close, but the Oilers have the benefit of running Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl for over half the game. After seeing what those two did in the playoffs, it’s hard to imagine any slowdown, especially if the Canucks give them a few power plays to work with.
Prediction: Oilers win 4-3