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 Tampa Bay Lightning vs Philadelphia Flyers.
Colorado Avalanche vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Avalanche 0 – 0 Sabres
In the first game of this NHL predictions piece, let’s look at what will likely be a really entertaining game or a blood bath. The Colorado Avalanche are without Evan Rodrigues and Bowen Byram – not counting the long list of players on injured reserve. However, the team was so well built that those absences haven’t been a giant problem. Not to mention that Alexandar Georgiev decided to have his revenge tour this year. It’s been a crazy ride but he’s finally getting there.
The Buffalo Sabres also have a handful of injured players, as always. But no one is on injured reserve yet so that’s good news. The team has been facing the ups and downs every rebuilding team with young players does, and even though it’s been hard, it’s what was expected from them.
Now, onto the bigger picture! The Avs have Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon leading the way with 29 and 28 points respectively. The Sabres have Tage Thompson and Rasmus Dahlin with 28 and 24 points respectively. However, the young team is coming from a road game that went to a shootout. It won’t be easy on them.
Because of that, the Avalanche will come out as the winners – but Buffalo won’t go down without a fight.
Prediction: Colorado wins, 6-4
Nashville Predators vs New Jersey Devils
Head-to-Head: Predators 0 – 0 Devils
Now, this should be an extra fun game. The New Jersey Devils are an absolute wagon this year and in their past 10 games, they’ve only lost one. They’ve also only lost four in the entire season. Isn’t that super crazy for a team that was struggling only a few months ago? Yes, super crazy.
The Nashville Predators are doing worse than expected but it’s okay. They’ll have time to bounce back. But if they want to get something good going, the Devils might not be the right team to try and do that against. The young guys will run over them and win with ease. For the second game of the night and of this NHL predictions, the Devils will keep it rolling.
Prediction: New Jersey wins, 5-1
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Philadelphia Flyers
Head-to-Head: Lightning 0 – 1 Flyers
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Tampa Bay is the better team in this matchup. They have a better offence and a better defence so this shouldn’t be too hard to guess who’s gonna win. However, Carter Hart decided he’d bounce back from a really bad 2021-22 season and get into Vezina discussions this season. So, even though the rest of the team might not be the best, he’s a beast. Also, let’s not forget John Tortorella is behind their bench this season, and, like it or not, he’s done a decent job. Good old Torts turned this mess of a team into something that can win games. And that alone is impressive.
Nikita Kucherov leads the Bolts in both points, with 35, and assists, with 25. And that’s in 22 games. He’s on fire and there’s no stopping him. On the other hand, Kevin Hayes leads the Flyers in everything, with eight goals and 24 points in 23 goals. It’s a big difference.
Looking at the goal, Hart has a 7-5-4 record with a 2.73 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. Andrei Vasilevskiy has an 8-7-1 record with a 2.88 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage. This will be a really interesting goalie matchup.
But, even though it can be an entertaining game to watch, Tampa Bay will take the win this time and tie the season series.
Prediction: Tampa Bay wins, 4-2
Vegas Golden Knights vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Head-to-Head: Golden Knights 0 – 0 Penguins
To wrap up this set of NHL predictions, let’s take a quick look at the matchup between the Vegas Golden Knights and Pittsburgh Penguins. The recent news about Kris Letang definitely leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, considering how much of a key player he is for the veteran team. But it can, and probably will give them a much-needed boost of energy to win this hockey game against the Golden Knights. They haven’t won a game since the Battle of Pennsylvania on Friday. The effort will be through the roof. If they can find a way to put a handful of goals past the rookie superstar goaltender Logan Thompson, they’ll be okay. But the keyword here is if.
Prediction: Pittsburgh wins, 3-2
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