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 Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Montreal Canadiens vs Minnesota Wild
Head To Head: Wild 1 – 0 Canadiens
The first of tonight’s NHL Predictions is a rematch of a game that took place just a week ago. The Minnesota Wild walked out of the Bell Centre with a 3-1 victory. Joel Eriksson Ek stole the show and scored two goals in that victory and Marc-Andre Fleury played his best game of the season. Tonight they head to St. Paul, Minnesota for the rematch and the Montreal Canadiens are looking for payback.
Both teams enter tonight on winning streaks. Minnesota is coming off a thrilling victory, and Montreal steamrolled for a win on Saturday. It will be fascinating to watch the youth of Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield take on Mats Zuccarello and Kirill Kaprizov once again. Both teams are in even-strength play, but the key will be special teams. The Fifth best power play (Minnesota with nine PP goals) takes on the ninth-best penalty kill (Montreal). Winning that battle will be the key to victory.
This could come down to goaltending. Fleury has played better as of late and has won his last three starts. The biggest surprise is the play of Jake Allen. He is rocking a 2.85 goals against average and a .909 save percentage. He sits fifth in the league in goals saved above expected with 5.2.
Prediction: Wild defeat Canadiens 4-2
New York Islanders vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head To Head: Islanders 0 – 0 Blackhawks
This matchup features the surprising Chicago Blackhawks against the veteran New York Islanders. To shock everyone, the Blackhawks sit third in the Central Division and even though the Islanders are on the outside looking in, they’ve been playing well as of late.
The Islanders are riding a three-game winning streak. After a sluggish start to the season, they’ve started playing like the team everyone knew they would be. They started putting the puck in the net more (33 goals which ranks fourth in the league) and are getting great goaltending. Chicago is 10th in goals scored (31) and has defied the odds of being in the Connor Bedard race. A resurgent Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are raising their stock for the trade deadline and leading the way.
The edge in this one goes to the Islanders. Despite the Blackhawks’ ability to finish their chances, Ilya Sorokin will be too much for them to overcome. He’s got a 2.23 GAA and .933 save percentage. In addition, he is rocking a fifth-best GSAx of 6.3. He will be why they walk away with a win.
Prediction: Islanders defeat Blackhawks 3-2
Los Angeles Kings vs Dallas Stars
Head To Head: Stars 0 – 0 Kings
A battle within the Western Conference. The Central Division-leading Dallas Stars are taking on the visiting Los Angeles Kings, who are in the second of a back-to-back. This game will feature a good offence against a good defence. The Kings enter the matchup averaging 3.50 goals per game. Los Angeles also ranks second with 24 goals at even strength. Their offensive attack is featured by Kevin Fiala, Anze Kopitar, and Gabriel Vilardi. Goals for them will not come easy, as the Stars rank second in average goals against per game (2.33, and allowed only 12 goals at even strength).
The biggest news entering this game is that top-tier Dallas netminder Jake Oettinger will be out for at least a week with an injury. Scott Wedgewood is a good goalie and has played well, but it will be interesting to see how they play without Oettinger between the pipes.
Prediction: Kings defeat Stars 4-3
Boston Bruins vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Head To Head: Bruins 0 – 0 Penguins
Tonight’s featured matchup in the NHL Predictions is between the Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins. This matchup is special for many reasons. Two of the top contending teams in the Eastern Conference for over a decade get to square off. What is extraordinary is the heart and soul of their core groups are still together. Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron (Boston) vs Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, and Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh) represent longevity with their teams. This is the first of three meetings between the two, which also includes the Winter Classic.
This game will feature two good offences. Both the Bruins (24) and Penguins (22) rank in the top 10 in goals scored at even strength. The Bruins rank first averaging 4.33 goals per game. Their attack is relentless and is led by star winger David Pastrnak (17 points). Pittsburgh is no slouch in that department as they average 3.56 goals per game. Crosby is paving the way, but it will not come easy for Pittsburgh in this matchup.
We have a big milestone to announce ‼️
Tonight, head coach Mike Sullivan is coaching his 516th game with Pittsburgh, tying Ed Johnston for the most games coached in franchise history. pic.twitter.com/s8pzCnRcWH
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 30, 2022
Defensively the Bruins have the edge. Despite averaging 31 shots against per game, the team has the third-best team save percentage (.925). In addition, Boston ranks third in goals against (21) and has the second-best penalty kill (93.9%).
This should feature a great goaltending matchup. Goaltending could go either way. Linus Ullmark is having a spectacular season. He is rocking the fifth-best goals-against average (1.70) and a fourth-best save percentage (.945). The goaltending has not been the greatest for Pittsburgh but isn’t bad. Tristan Jarry (3.02 GAA) and Casey DeSmith (2.97 GAA) will need to perform better in order to smother the Boston attack. That will be the difference as the Bruins blend of scoring followed up with good goaltending to secure the two points.
Prediction: Bruins defeat Penguins 5-2