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 St. Louis Blues vs. Edmonton Oilers.
NHL Predictions: St. Louis Blues vs. Edmonton Oilers
Minnesota Wild vs. Boston Bruins
Head to Head: Wild 0-0 Bruins
The Minnesota Wild and Boston Bruins face off for the first of two meetings of the year. Coming into today, both squads have displayed suffocating offensive pressure throughout their starts to the season; the difference in results lies primarily in goaltending. Boston (4-0-1), often controlling the pace of play overall, has had uncharacteristic defensive breakdowns well-stopped by Linus Ullmark in his appearances. For Minnesota (1-3-0), several defensive and goaltending concerns have been on full display to start their season. Expected in goal today for Minnesota is Marc-Andre Fleury, with an admittedly egregious set of performances to start the year. Luckily for the Wild, a goaltender with struggles in his starts for the Bruins in Jeremy Swayman.
Considering the above, we can expect an exciting, back-and-forth affair in Boston, full of electric offence and perhaps a flow of high-danger chances resulting in a high quantity of goals.
Prediction: Bruins win 6-4
San Jose Sharks vs. New Jersey Devils
Head to Head: Sharks 0-0 Devils
The start of the new season has truly highlighted one of the most fascinating developments in the New Jersey Devils. Despite their ability to consistently activate offence on the rush and follow with sustained pressure, New Jersey has dealt with vastly egregious goaltending that could be reasonably mistaken for Swiss cheese at times. Fortunately, a two-game stretch outscoring opponents 8-3 brings them into the afternoon with some positive momentum.
The San Jose Sharks themselves are coming off their first victory of the season after losing the first five games of the season. The overall offensive play of the Sharks has proven itself to be an early struggle, perhaps reflective of their relatively weak offensive depth aside from Tomas Hertl, Timo Meier, and Logan Couture. An early bright spot for the Sharks is the play of James Reimer in goal. Speaking of Reimer; unless the Sharks can inspire a performance off of his heels, they will likely run into several issues at even strength against New Jersey.
Prediction: Devils win 3-1
St. Louis Blues vs. Edmonton Oilers
Head to Head: Blues 0-0 Oilers
For the featured afternoon set of games today, we have the St. Louis Blues and the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton enters the day fresh off of a trilling 6-4 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes, featuring four-point performances from Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each. Both McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins have had excellent starts to the year; albeit, Nugent-Hopkins may be considered more noteworthy considering his previous production and hopefulness to bounce back from a relative down year last season. Goaltending-wise, Jack Campbell‘s start to the year has appeared rather turbulent. Campbell’s most recent start came in a 36-save effort against the Hurricanes, perhaps serving as a confidence booster and a guide back to the track. The Oilers come into the afternoon without their young dynamo in Dylan Holloway for the second straight night due to injury.
St. Louis enters just their third game of the year and their second of their three-game road trip against conference opponents. In the last game for the Blues, Justin Faulk scored in overtime to give the Blues an overtime win over Seattle, after handing an early 3-1 lead away. The Blues present themselves as a highly efficient offensive team for this season; despite their relatively low offensive generation marks last season, they were among the league’s best in scoring rates, highlighted primarily by elite passing from Robert Thomas and Vladimir Tarasenko, as well as the elite play in the transition from both Jordan Kyrou and Pavel Buchnevich. Both teams present themselves as octane offensive forces, with the ability to each burn the other on a counter-attacking play. The featured game of the afternoon should present an exciting 60-minute venture.
Prediction: Blues win 4-3 (OT)
Arizona Coyotes vs. Ottawa Senators
Head to Head: Coyotes 0-0 Senators
The Ottawa Senators come off of 5-2 and 7-5 victories in their last two games against the Washington Capitals and the Bruins. Ottawa’s offence has validated many of its promises, with especially strong production coming in Claude Giroux, Drake Batherson, and Brady Tkachuk early. An interesting prospect has highlighted himself in a three-goals in-four-games start for Shane Pinto, looking to establish his offensive upside at the NHL, highlighting a promising prospect for even more offensive capacity within Ottawa.
The Arizona Coyotes have predictably and reflectively dealt with struggles on nearly every front of performance to start the year (save an interesting 4-2 win over Toronto). The Coyotes have given up six goals in three of their first four games of the season. Brighter spots include a nice three-goal start for Nick Ritchie and regular offensive activation of Shayne Gostisbehere from the back end. Unfortunately for the Coyotes, the Senators offensive appears to be in its groove, leaving Arizona seemingly running into a wrecking ball in its own especially vulnerable state.
Prediction: Senators win 4-1
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