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 Winnipeg Jets.
NHL Predictions: Toronto Maple Leafs vs Winnipeg Jets
Dallas Stars vs Montreal Canadiens
Head-to-Head: Stars 0-0 Canadiens
The Dallas Stars have had a solid start to the season. After dropping their last game against the Maple Leafs in overtime, the Stars hold a 3-0-1 record and currently sit on top of the Central division standings. Conversely, Montreal has seen mixed results so far this season. The Canadiens are off a 3-2 start, including wins against Toronto and Pittsburgh. However, Montreal is perfect so far at home, where the Bell Centre has been full of energy. Jake Allen is expected to start for Montreal, while Jake Oettinger should get the nod for the Stars. Oettinger has been lights out for the Stars this season. The two teams split last season’s series, each picking up one win. Expect Oettinger to keep the young Canadiens at bay and Dallas to get another victory.
Dallas wins 4-2
LA Kings vs Washington Capitals
Head-to-Head: Kings 0-0 Capitals
The Los Angeles Kings hold a 3-3 record and are coming off a bad 6-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Kings have been averaging 3.8 goals per game, good for 11th in the league. Gabriel Vilardi leads the team with four goals and three assists for seven points. Unfortunately, the Kings’ defence has been giving more goals than they are scoring, which is not exactly a recipe for success. Washington’s start to the season hasn’t been great either, as the Washington Capitals hold a 3-2 record. Captain Alex Ovechkin is leading the way for Washington with 5 points through 4 games. The Russian sniper has been held to only two goals early this season. Expect a high-scoring affair for this game and Ovechkin’s Capitals to take the win.
Washington wins 6-4
New York Islanders vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head-to-Head Islanders 0-0 Lightning
The start of the season hasn’t gone very well for the Tampa Bay Lightning, who currently hold a 2-3 record. With 13 goals scored through their first five games, the offence outside Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov has yet to get going for the Lightning. Tampa enters the game on the second night of a back-to-back. The Lightning picked up an overtime win over cross-state rivals, Florida Panthers. Except for backup goalie Brian Elliott to get the start for Tampa.
The Islanders have a 2-2 record to start the season, most recently dropping a game to the New Jersey Devils 4-1. The Islander’s offence and defence have been good, ranking fourth and third in goals scored and allowed. The Islanders have been getting balanced scoring throughout their line-up. The Lightning won all three contests last season. However, coming in on the second night of a back-to-back, the Islanders should have more jump as the game wears on. Expect the Islanders to prevail in a tightly contested game.
Islanders win 3-2
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Head-to-Head Penguins 0-0 Blue Jackets
This game features two teams at the opposite end of the spectrum. The Pittsburgh Penguins have been flying to start the season. Bolstering a 3-0-1 record, the Penguins currently sit atop the Metropolitan division. Aside from their overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh has been scoring in abundance this season. Sidney Crosby leads the way with two goals and four assists for six points in four games. The Columbus Blue Jackets, who dropped their first three games, now has back-to-back wins entering the contest. The Blue Jackets’ offence took a big blow in the season opener, losing sniper Patrik Laine for 3-4 weeks with an elbow injury. Expect the Penguins to continue rolling in this one, as Columbus has been giving up plenty of goals.
Pittsburgh wins 5-3
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Winnipeg Jets
Head-to-Head Maple Leafs 0-0 Jets
The Toronto Maple Leafs enter the contest following a 3-2 overtime win against the Dallas Stars. The Maple Leafs have yet to hit their stride in the young season. After losing to the perennially basement-dwelling Arizona Coyotes, head coach Sheldon Keefe called out his “elite” players for their performance during the game. Offensively, Toronto captain John Tavares currently leads the Leafs with 5 points. Reigning Hart Trophy winner Auston Matthews has gotten off to a slow start scoring just 1 goal and adding one assist.
On the flip side, the Winnipeg Jets are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights and boast a 2-2 record to start the season. Two of their wins have come against strong opponents in the New York Rangers and the defending champion Colorado Avalanche. Connor Hellebuyck has been giving the Jets every opportunity to win games with his .922SV%. Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers have been leading the way offensively for the Jets. Expect goaltending to be the difference in this one, as the Jets will secure the win.
Winnipeg wins 3-2
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