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 Edmonton Oilers vs Washington Capitals.
NHL Predictions: Edmonton Oilers vs Washington Capitals
Note: All stats provided are from Evolving-Hockey.
Calgary Flames vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Flames 0-0 Islanders
New York comes into the night having won four of its last five games, after a rather rough start to the season. The heels and shoulders of Ilya Sorokin continue to be a constant in the play of the Islanders, with their ranking of 28th in expected goals against per 60 indicative of poor overall team defence, and excellent GSAx of Sorokin’s showing the above point to be true in its entirety. Interestingly, something worth noting is the fact Lane Lambert‘s systems may have now introduced themselves to the league as relief of offensive generation and efficiency for the team, ranking among the top 10 in xGF/60 (expected goals for 60) and GF/60 (goals for per 60) in the league to start the year.
Calgary enters the night approaching a three-game Eastern Conference road trip carrying the stench of a four-game losing streak (all at home). Calgary’s solid start has completely evaporated, with several members of the Flames roster experiencing some sort of slump in their performance, with the most mentioned of these the struggles of Jonathan Huberdeau but also including those such as Andrew Mangiapane. However, if there is any coach to regroup and effectively re-inspire his team it is Darryl Sutter, and the Islanders could be a great team to redevelop offensive swagger against.
Prediction: Flames win 4-3
St Louis Blues vs Boston Bruins
Head-to-Head: Blues 0-0 Bruins
The Boston Bruins and St Louis Blues face off for the first of two meetings, in seemingly opposite directions play-wise. For Boston, a 10-2-0 start is nearly everything Bruins fans could have asked for to fend off early season predictions that plotted them at or below a wild-card start. Unfortunately, the recently ending episode with signing the highly controversial Mitchell Miller left fans around the hockey world similarly disgusted, serving as a primary source of league-wide attention despite this strong start. This game serves as a chance for Boston to leave this short saga behind them and continue their insane levels of early success.
Conversely, the Blues have massively slumped throughout their first stretch of consistent action in the season. After a 3-0-0 start, St. Louis has stumbled into tonight with a loss in each of their last six. Not only has Berube’s side struggled to generate scoring chances at a strong rate, but their ability to finish has also been atrocious, ranking last in goals-for-per-60 in the early portions of the season. Play in goal has also seen some struggles on the behalf of Jordan Binnington, leaving the Blues in a stumbled, rattled rate featuring their captain Ryan O’Reilly being surprisingly blunt in his self-criticisms especially.
Tonight should feature the metaphorical equivalent of a head-on collision; unless, the night is the start of a new season for both teams.
Prediction: Bruins win 6-2
Edmonton Oilers vs Washington Capitals
Head-to-Head: Oilers 0-0 Capitals
Tonight’s featured game pits the Edmonton Oilers and the Washington Capitals. Edmonton and Washington have both lost three-plus games in a row in their last five games, with both teams having experienced fairly mediocre starts to the season. Varying issues serve as the source for these starts (whether it is defensive play, goaltending, lack of offensive generation and sustainability, etc).
This game also poses an all-exciting and well-hyped match-up between Connor McDavid and Alex Ovechkin. McDavid, leading the league in numerous production stats as the league’s number one star, will near certainly provide more octane offensive value alongside his partner-in-crime Leon Draisaitl. Ovechkin is coming off a night in which he broke an all-time scoring record (most goals with a single team in a career), now with 787 and continuing with the all-time goal-scoring record.
Prediction: Oilers win 4-2
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