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 Toronto Maple Leafs.
NHL Predictions: Boston Bruins vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Arizona Coyotes vs Washington Capitals
Head to Head: Coyotes 0-0 Capitals
The first of tonight’s NHL Predictions is not the juiciest of all matchups, but if you love watching greatness tune in. And by greatness, I mean Alexander Ovechkin. Despite the loss the other night, he tallied goal 786 and is 14 away from 800. The man has always been must-watch hockey regardless of the opponent. Entering play tonight, the Capitals have 12 points in a very tightly contested Eastern Conference, whereas the Coyotes are at the bottom of the league. Arizona does not score a lot of goals, and facing a great goalie in Darcy Kuemper is not going to be easy. Kuemper owns a 2.35 GAA and a .922 save percentage. In addition, he ranks sixth with 6.2 GSAX. That will be the difference in tonight’s game and why the Capitals win.
Prediction: Capitals defeat Coyotes 4-1
Buffalo Sabres vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Head to head: Sabres 0-0 Lightning
A good matchup is on deck as two teams from the Atlantic Division go head to head. Entering play tonight, both teams with second and third in the Division. A young Sabres squad is coming off the second of a back-to-back game and faces a talented veteran Tampa Bay team.
This game is littered with talent. The forwards to watch are Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Tage Thompson. A young blue line led by Rasmus Dahlin and Owen Power take on Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev. Dahlin is one to watch for as he ranks second in points among defencemen (14). This should be a good matchup.
This team can be littered with offence, but Tampa Bay takes advantage of the Sabres coming off a game against the Carolina Hurricanes the night prior.
Prediction: Lightning defeat Sabres 4-2
Philadelphia Flyers vs Ottawa Senators
Head to Head: Flyers 0-0 Senators
This NHL Prediction features two surprising teams. This has the makings of being a good hockey game. Both teams have been pleasant surprises in different ways. The Flyers have exceeded expectations and have 12 points, while the Senators are at the bottom of the conference. Newcomer Claude Giroux will get to face the team he captained for over a decade. But this game features a team that can score against a team that does not allow many.
When it comes to even-strength play, Ottawa ranks 8th in goals scored (26), whereas the Flyers are at the bottom (16). The Senators are the more dominant team in this regard and are led by captain Brady Tkachuk. A major factor in this game is Carter Hart. He has not lost in regulation yet this season, and despite the team getting outplayed, Hart has carried the load. Hart has a 2.10 GAA, and a .943 save percentage. His 12.6 GSAX ranks first in the league, and he will be why the Flyers shut the door on the Senators.
Prediction: Flyers defeat Senators 3-2
Seattle Kraken vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Head to Head: Kraken 1-0 Penguins
A young and up-and-coming Seattle Kraken squad takes on the veteran Pittsburgh Penguins. This a rematch from a little over a week ago where the Kraken defeated the Penguins at home 3-1. The Penguins have uncharacteristically blown two leads in the last two games and have suffered defeats. The Kraken is rolling right now. They won in comeback fashion against the Calgary Flames and shut out the Minnesota Wild, and sit in third place in the Pacific Division.
Both teams have a bottom-tier team save percentage, which could come down to that timely save. Seattle has been rolling and will continue to do so against a shaky Pittsburgh team.
Prediction: Kraken defeat Penguins 4-3 OT
Vegas Golden Knights Vs Montreal Canadiens
Head To Head: Golden Knights 0-0 Canadiens
This matchup is exciting for many reasons. Bruce Cassidy has the Vegas Golden Knights back on top of the hockey mountain, while Martin St Louis has the Montreal Canadiens playing better hockey than expected.
This game features the youth movement of Montreal’s finest with Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. Suzuki leads the team in points (13), and Caufield leads the team in goals (7). They’ve brought must-watch hockey to the team as they are a fun duo in this league. Another player to watch for is Jack Eichel. He leads the team with points (13) and is coming off three straight games where he has factored in the team’s wins.
The biggest key for this game is the stifling Golden Knights’ defence. They average 1.92 goals per game and boast the league’s best team save percentage (.936). Goaltending will steal the show for the Golden Knights and lead them to victory.
Prediction: Golden Knights defeat Canadiens 5-2
Boston Bruins vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Head To Head: Bruins 0-0 Maple Leafs
Tonight’s featured game on the NHL Predictions is a matchup within the Atlantic Division. The Boston Bruins travel North and take on division rival Toronto Maple Leafs. There is always excitement when these two teams play given their recent history. Coming into the matchup, The Bruins currently have the best record in the entire league, and the Maple Leafs currently have 12 points. Both teams have lost numerous players to injury. The Bruins are without Jeremy Swayman and Derek Forbort and are waiting on the return of Charlie McAvoy, whereas the Leafs are without Matt Murray and Jake Muzzin.
Even with critical injuries to both teams, there is much to look forward to when watching. It is littered with star talent, with Mitch Marner, Auston Matthews, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Patrice Bergeron. Both goaltenders will need to be at their best. The Bruins lead the league in even-strength goals (31) and average 4.45 goals per game. They have been an offensive powerhouse to begin the year.
You can never count the Leafs out and not against the Bruins. Captain John Tavares leads the team in goals (7) and this could be a game where the offence finally clicks.
The Bruins have the edge at even-strength play, but special teams could become a factor. Entering play, the Maple Leafs have the ninth-best power play (11 goals 26.2% success rate). Tavares and Matthews are the ones to watch for when they have the extra skater. The problem; Boston has the league’s best penalty kill (94.9%). Whoever can win the special teams battle can take control of the game.
The other big key will be goaltending. Both Linus Ullmark and Ilya Samsonov have been good to begin the year. Ullmark is undefeated with a 2.17 GAA and a .929 save percentage. Samsonov has filled in greatly for Murray and boasts a 2.30 GAA and .920 save percentage. Each goaltender will face quality chances and be counted on for that timely save. The Bruins have been red hot and outduel the Leafs.
Prediction: Bruins defeat Maple Leafs 5-3
Embed from Getty Images