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 Los Angeles Kings vs Nashville Predators.
NHL Predictions: Los Angeles Kings vs Nashville Predators
San Jose Sharks vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Sharks 0-0 Islanders
It’s early, but the San Jose Sharks are in a significant, early hole. They’ve only played four games, but they are 0-4, and their offence is sputtering at an anemic 1.5 goals per game pace. Now they find themselves on the road in New York, against an Islanders team that boasts one of the best young goaltenders in the league.
Ilya Sorokin is off to a torrid start for the Islanders. He is rocking a .941 save percentage and a 1.52 goals-against average through two games of action. If he can keep that up, he’ll certainly frustrate a Sharks’ offence that has struggled to score to begin with. The Islanders have also been perfect on the penalty kill to start the season, which will also work to stifle the Sharks’ attack.
Prediction: Islanders win 3-1
Buffalo Sabres vs Edmonton Oilers
Head-to-Head: Sabres 0-0 Oilers
The Edmonton Oilers will start rookie netminder Stuart Skinner in his first start of the season tonight. He was excellent on Saturday night in a 31-save relief performance against the Calgary Flames, allowing no goals in over two periods of play. The Oilers will need Skinner to be on his “A” game as they look to buck a trend of not being able to start games on time. The team was down 3-0 to the Vancouver Canucks and 4-1 to the Flames in each of their first two games. The Buffalo Sabres will come out of the gates firing as they try to keep that pattern alive.
The Sabres will also lean strongly on Rasmus Dahlin to both defend Edmonton’s top guns, but also provide some offence of his own. Dahlin is averaging over 25 minutes a night of ice time and already has three points in two games.
This one will be full of fire-power, but the Oilers are at home and that should open up enough matchup opportunities for Connor McDavid and co. to exploit and get the win.
Prediction: Oilers win 6-4
Vegas Golden Knights vs Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Golden Knights 0-0 Flames
It’s a battle of the undefeated squads as the 3-0 Vegas Golden Knights make a trip up north to face the 2-0 Calgary Flames. The difference is that the Flames two wins have come against pretty stiff opponents, whereas the Golden Knights haven’t had quite as tough of a test. That isn’t to take away from their great start, but Vegas will likely have to up their game even further to dismantle the Flames at home.
The Flames are getting contributions from all across their lineup right now, which will be tough for the Golden Knights to stop. Nazem Kadri, the Flames’ newly signed centre, is leading the way with three points in his first two games. Even though Logan Thompson (1.50, .947) has been exceptional in net for Vegas, it just might not be enough to stop what is a very deep Calgary team.
Prediction: Flames win 3-2 (OT)
Los Angeles Kings vs Nashville Predators
Head-to-Head: Kings 0-0 Predators
This will be a tough matchup for the Los Angeles Kings, as they are on the second half of a back-to-back. They just played, and beat, the Detroit Red Wings last night in overtime. It’s not the longest trip in the world, but the Kings will probably be a bit sluggish, at least compared to a well-rested Nashville Predators team who hasn’t played since Saturday.
Both teams find themselves 2-2, but the Predators are tending down slightly. They started the year hot, winning both of their games in Europe, but since returning to North America they have been sluggish. They just lost a home-and-away to the Dallas Stars by a combined score of 9-2. With a bit of extra rest, and against a less difficult opponent (at least on paper), the Predators should look better tonight.
The Kings are also a tricky team to get a read on. They started the season 0-2, but have not rebounded with impressive wins against the Red Wings and the Minnesota Wild. They’ve shown that they can score a bunch of goals and beat quality opponents, but keeping the puck out of their net looks like it is going to be a serious struggle, especially on a night with limited rest.
The Predators, at home and with a fresher roster, should be able to capitalize on a Kings’ team that can punch strong but has significant defensive issues.
Predators win 5-3
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