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 Pittsburgh Penguins vs Chicago Blackhawks.
Florida Panthers vs Columbus Blue Jackets
Head-to-Head: Panthers 0 – 0 Blue Jackets
The first meeting of these two teams this season, both have been off to disappointing starts, given the expectations. For the Florida Panthers, they are 9-7-2 which isn’t horrible, but only good for fifth in the Atlantic. This is a massive step down from the Presidents Trophy team they had last year. Their offence has been good but not amazing. However, their goals against is higher than they would like at 59 goals against in 18 games.
For the Columbus Blue Jackets, injuries have already derailed their season. Zach Werenski is out for the year and Adam Boqvist has also been hurt for the majority of the season too. Patrik Laine got hurt early on and is still finding consistency while being back now. Still, when they signed Johnny Gaudreau a 6-10-1 start is not what they could have imagined. They are tied for last in the East and second-last in the league.
Look for the Panthers offence to overpower a weak Jackets defence.
Prediction: Panthers win 5-2.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Penguins 0 – 0 Blackhawks
The Pittsburgh Penguins have gotten off to a very slow start this year. At 8-7-3, this is not where they pictured themselves being. Even worse, unlike other teams that have dealt with tons of injuries, they have been relatively healthy. All of their big names in Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang have played all season.
However, they just haven’t managed to contend with some of the top teams in the Metro. The good news? They have been a solid possession team. They rank 12th in CF% and 5th in xGF%. Usually, when teams are playing that well, results are bound to turn around. Especially with a team like Pittsburgh that has a ton of shooting talent.
For the Blackhawks, they have been off to a solid start given expectations. Most people see this team in a rebuild, and that is likely where they will finish the year. However, they started off 6-5-3 and showed some fight. Since then, they have dropped three in a row and are now second-last in the division. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Patrick Kane is leading the way offensively. His name will likely come up a lot in our NHL Rumours segment as he may be the top trade target this deadline. Jonathan Toews is also a free agent this summer and has 11 points in 18 games.
Tonight, look for the Penguins to overwhelm the Hawks lack of depth.
Prediction: Penguins win 4-3.
Tristan Jarry will start in goal tonight in Winnipeg. pic.twitter.com/As4GTzd0VF
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 19, 2022