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 Calgary Flames and the Florida Panthers.
NHL Predictions: Calgary Flames vs Florida Panthers
New Jersey Devils vs Ottawa Senators
Head to Head: Devils 1-0 Senators
Nine days ago these two teams met, and in that first meeting, the New Jersey Devils were victorious. The team continues their Canada road trip against the Ottawa Senators. New Jersey is riding an 11-game winning streak (first since 2005-06), whereas Ottawa is 2-2-1 in their last five.
Even though the is much veteran presence on each team, there are some young guns to watch in this matchup. One is Jake Sanderson, who in his last five games has four assists (three coming on the power play) and is averaging 23 minutes of ice time. Even though the Devils are led up front by Jack Hughes and Jesper Bratt, captain Nico Hischier is flying high. He has six points in his last five games and had three points in the first meeting between the two teams.
The Devils are the better team. New Jersey is the second-best team in the conference and is playing like it. They have been playing like it and will continue to do so. And with Ottawa being so on and off, they’ll need to turn it on if they want to escape with a win.
Prediction: Devils defeat Senators 4-2
Calgary Flames vs Florida Panthers
Head to Head: Flames 0-0 Panthers
This is the game we have all been waiting for. Tonight’s featured game on the NHL Predictions is between the Calgary Flames and the Florida Panthers. The first meeting between the two clubs since making that NBA-type trade during the summer.
All eyes will be on the players involved in that trade, of course. Matthew Tkachuk and the Panthers welcome Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar (both signed long-term deals) back to town. It’s a reunion for everyone in what should be a good hockey game.
Entering play tonight, the Panthers are 9-7-1 and sit third in the Atlantic Division and are 3-2 in their last five games. Things were not so hot in Calgary. The team was on a seven-game losing streak before piecing together two wins. They continue their trip down south after playing the Tampa Bay Lightning two nights ago.
Everything appears even on the surface. Both teams are capable of goal-scoring (Florida with 52 goals and Calgary with 47). The key area where Calgary has the advantage is on the penalty kill (10th in the league).
This game will come down to who will provide the better goaltending. Two veteran goalies are struggling early on. Sergei Bobrovsky sits with a 4-4-2 record and had a subpar 3.46 GAA and .895 save percentage. Spencer Knight came in to relieve him against the Dallas Stars the other night and may receive the start. Jacob Markstrom has seen better days as well. He has been similar to Bobrovsky (3.06 GAA and .887 save percentage). Take Bobrovsky as the deeper forward group for the Panthers will help get the job done as well.
Prediction: Panthers defeat Flames 5-3