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 New York Islanders vs the New York Rangers.
NHL Predictions: New York Rangers at New York Islanders
Edmonton Oilers at St Louis Blues
Oilers vs Blues Head to Head: Oilers 0 Blues 1
The first on the list for tonight’s NHL Predictions is a rematch from four days ago. Connor McDavid and CO. travel down to St. Louis to take on the same blues that defeated them four days prior. Jordan Binnington was spectacular in net, securing 23 saves shutout victory. The Oilers will be looking for revenge and looking to crack the Blues goaltending which has been very good to start the year.
Both teams enter play tonight with six points and both sit third in their respective divisions. The Blues won three straight before getting shut out by the Winnipeg Jets. As for the Oilers, they’ve gone 2-2 in their last four games.
Tonight’s game features a good offence against a good defence. The bread and butter for the Blues have been goaltending (5th overall in team save percentage) and keeping the puck out of their net (4th in goals against per game). The Oilers come in with a potent offence that ranks seventh in goals per game and 11th in goals scored (22). A big key to watch for is special teams’ play. The Oiler’s third-best power play-up against the Blue’s number-one penalty kill. Defence prevailed last game, and fortunes take a turn this go-round.
Prediction: Oilers defeat Blues 4-1
Tampa Bay Lightning at Anaheim Ducks
Lightning vs Ducks Head to Head 0-0
This NHL Predictions features the most lopsided game of the evening. The high-powered Tampa Bay Lightning takes on the rebuilding Anaheim Ducks. Tampa Bay sits 7th in the Atlantic while the Ducks sit 7th in the Pacific. The Ducks have only won one game and are coming off four straight losses. Tampa Bay enters the game playing last night against the Los Angeles Kings as they finish the California road trip.
The Ducks are as bad as their record. They rank at the bottom in every statistical category and have one of the worst possession numbers of any team. This team is headlined by young talent in Troy Terry and Mason McTavish. To make matters worse, they rank first in shots per game (41).
The Lightning packs a powerful punch. Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Brayden Point lead an offensive attack averaging three goals per game. Tampa Bay also comes in with the eighth-best power play and has a deep lineup they can count on for production. In addition, they have Andrei Vasilevskiy. He ranks eighth in goals saved above expected (3.1) and is rocking a 2.52 GAA and .922 save percentage. This Tampa squad is too much for this Ducks team and does not stand much of a chance.
Prediction: Lightning defeat Ducks 5-2
New York Rangers at New York Islanders
Rangers vs Islanders Head to Head 0-0
The Battle of New York. Rivals in the state and rivals in the division. The New York Rangers travel to Long Island to take on the New York Islanders. Both teams are on the outside of the playoff picture, but it is early. The Rangers sit with seven points, while the Islanders are buried in the basement of the Eastern Conference. You could almost say that was expected after doing nothing in the off-season.
The Rangers and Islanders are neck and neck in goals scored this season. Mika Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin are leading the way for the Rangers. Panarin leads the league in points (12) and assists (8). Zibanejad is 15th in points with eight. They have gotten contributions throughout the lineup, not having to rely on the top line. The top leaders for the Islanders are Anders Lee, Mathew Barzal, and Brock Nelson. Shockingly, Barzal and Nelson have yet to find the back of the net.
Tonight’s matchup has some key factors to it. The Rangers are one of the best possession teams at even strength (5th in Corsi For Percentage) compared to last season, where the Islanders are the middle of the pack. This game could very well come down to special teams. The Rangers scorching power play (9th in the league) takes on the Islanders penalty kill that’s tied for first in the league.
Another factor will be goaltending. The Rangers rank 26th in team save percentage, whereas the Islanders rank 16th. It’ll be back-to-back for the Rangers, but that doesn’t mean they won’t start Igor Shesterkin two games in a row. Ilya Sorokin paves the way for the Islanders (2.84 GAA, .908 SV%, 1.2 GSAX). Shesterkin is not far behind (2.75 GAA, .901 SV%, 1.0 GSAX). This game could come down to one timely save, and given the Rangers are a better possession team, they prevail in this rivalry game.
Prediction: Rangers defeat Islanders 3-2
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