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 Winnipeg Jets and the Dallas Stars.
NHL Predictions: Winnipeg Jets vs Dallas Stars
Los Angeles Kings vs San Jose Sharks
Head to Head: Kings 0-0 Sharks
Our first game on the NHL Predictions is between the California squads. The Los Angeles Kings take on their rival San Jose Sharks. Los Angeles is riding high as it sits third in the Pacific Division, whereas San Jose is in the basement.
The Sharks are almost a must-watch team. Not because they are good, but because Erik Karlsson is. He has 30 points (leads the team) and is playing his best hockey in recent memory.
This game is all in favour in the Kings. They have a more potent offence compared to the Sharks and that’s what will lead them to victory. Both teams are in the bottom five in goals allowed and the Kings have the worst team save percentage. Even then, the Kings offence will lead the charge over the Sharks offence.
Prediction: Kings defeat Sharks 4-2.
Winnipeg Jets vs Dallas Stars
Head to Head: Jets 0-0 Stars
Tonight’s featured matchup on NHL Predictions features two of the top teams in the Central Division. That’s not the main storyline though. This is the return that Rick Bowness makes to American Airlines Center as head coach of the Jets.
Both teams are off to good starts. The Stars sit at the top of the division, whereas the Jets sit third. Both teams under their new head coaches have played strong to start the season. In the first matchup of the year between the two, who has the edge so far?
There is a lot of firepower in this matchup. Even though the Jets have talented forwards in Blake Wheeler, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Mark Scheifele, and Kyle Connor, Dallas has the edge in this one. Josh Morrissey currently leads the Jets in points with 19, which is pretty wild. However, the Stars have the edge in this regard. Not only has Jamie Benn been one of the best players in the league this month, but contributions are also coming from everywhere. The biggest key for the Stars is their dynamite top line of Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski.
Robertson is currently tied with Connor McDavid in goals (16), but the line has been great for them. They’ve played 192 minutes together and have a team best xGF% of 62.4% (which is also 18th in the league). In addition they have 79% of the teams production and have 19 goals as a line (league best). Together they average 5.91 goals for per 60 minutes. Just a treat to watch and is what makes them dangerous.
The two key factors for this game will be special teams and goaltending. Entering play the Stars have the second-best power-play unit, whereas the Jets have the fifth-best penalty kill. Whoever can win the special teams battle can help control their teams fate.
But the biggest X Factor will come between the pipes. Two of the best goaltenders will be facing off against one another. Both goaltenders have been key to their teams success, and Connor Hellebuyck has looked like a Vezina Trophy winner from the start. He has two shutouts and boasts a 2.35 GAA and .928 save percentage. His goal saved above-expected ranks sixth with 8.3.
Dallas has their man between the pipes. After his unbelievable performance in the playoffs, he has proved that level of play was no fluke. Oettinger has a 2.32 GAA, and a .924 save percentage. He is slightly above Hellebuyck with an 8.6 GSAX. He will look to bounce back after uncharacteristically allowing four goals to the Chicago Blackhawks a few nights ago.
Both goaltenders are even in play. It is going to be an elite matchup to watch in this regard. However, with the potent Stars offence, they win this contest.
Prediction: Stars defeat Jets 3-2.
Jason Robertson scores in OT to lift Stars to 4-3 win over Jets https://t.co/myBOYr4UeG pic.twitter.com/i8IYbK8vsW
— Globe Sports (@Globe_Sports) February 12, 2022