NHL Predictions: December 8 Including Detroit Red Wings vs Florida Panthers

SUNRISE, FL - APRIL 21: Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic #39 of the Detroit Red Wings stops a third period shot by Patric Hornqvist #70 of the Florida Panthers at the FLA Live Arena on April 21, 2022 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/NHL/Getty Images)

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 Detroit Red Wings vs Florida Panthers.

Check out the latest NHL Prop Bets on tonight’s games!

NHL Predictions: Including Detroit Red Wings vs Florida Panthers

Los Angeles Kings vs Toronto Maple Leafs

Head-to-Head: Kings 1 – 0 Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs will try to avenge a 4-2 loss in October tonight on home ice. They’ll be doing so with defenceman T.J. Brodie back in the lineup, returning after missing the last 12 games with an oblique injury. Toronto’s defence, even its patchwork state, has been impressive recently – they’ve won six of seven, Mitch Marner continues his historic point streak (now at 20 games), and Auston Matthews is finally heating up with nine points in his last five games (and on-ice goals for percentage of 83%, per Natural Stat Trick).

The Los Angeles Kings could return to Pheonix Copley in net after the veteran call-up posted a .939 save percentage in his first season appearance against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. If they’re to break through a potent Leafs defence/goaltending combo tonight, it’ll likely have something to do with Kevin Fiala, who leads the team in scoring and had eight points in his last five outings. A simmering Leafs offence should take advantage of a Kings team that sits bottom-five in the NHL in goals against, however.

Prediction: Maple Leafs win 4-2

Nashville Predators vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Head-to-Head: Predators 0 – 1 Lightning

The first game of this season series went to the Tampa Bay Lightning, a 3-2 overtime win on November 19. Tampa remains entrenched in a playoff position despite a shaky start and has an 8-4-1 record at home. Their defensive game has lapsed at times, but it shouldn’t affect them tonight against the Nashville Predators‘ 28th-ranked offence. The Lightning is bolstered by the return of Anthony Cirelli, who has two assists in his first two games of the year since returning from injury. On the road, Nashville’s bottom-tier offence and power play won’t be able to compete against the renewed depth of the Lightning, despite Tampa being expected to start veteran backup Brian Elliott.

Prediction: Lightning win 5-1

Detroit Red Wings vs Florida Panthers

Head-to-Head: Red Wings 0 – 0 Panthers

Today’s NHL Predictions featured game is the first of three this season between two teams in a fierce battle for playoff hopes in the Atlantic Division. The Detroit Red Wings are 6-2-2 in their past 10, rocketing into a top-three spot in the division, while the Florida Panthers now sit out of playoff position after failing to hit the .500 mark in the same span.

For Detroit, they’ll need to focus on defence tonight against a potent Panthers offence that’s now bolstered by the return of captain Aleksander Barkov. The dynamic forward had missed much of the last few weeks due to an extended bout of pneumonia. Team defence has been Detroit’s main weakness this year, with their top pairing of Ben Chiarot and Moritz Seider carrying an abysmal expected goals percentage of 43.9%, per MoneyPuck. The team’s top two-way pairing of Olli Maatta and Filip Hronek hasn’t broken 50% in that metric either, but they’ve received strong goaltending from Ville Husso (11-4-3, .916 SV%, 3 shutouts) to help things out. Detroit’s scoring also takes a minor depth hit in the absence of Tyler Bertuzzi, who’s expected to miss about five more weeks with an injury.

Florida has simmering momentum amid Spencer Knight‘s breakout and Matthew Tkachuk‘s recent hot streak, and their top offensive players remain as terrifying as ever. On home ice and national television, look for the Panthers to break out of their slump and get a crucial win.

Prediction: Panthers win 6-2

Winnipeg Jets vs St Louis Blues

Head-to-Head: Jets 1 – 0 Blues

The Winnipeg Jets are first in the Central Division and have Connor Hellebuyck to thank for it. Undoubtedly the early-season Vezina favourite, Hellebuyck’s .932 save percentage and 15.6 goals saved above expected (per MoneyPuck), are spectacular. Defenceman Josh Morrissey also makes some notable contributions, tallying six assists in his last five games. Combine that with a disjointed St Louis Blues offence and mediocre goaltending at best, and Winnipeg should be able to smother the Blues tonight, even on the road.

Prediction: Jets win 3-1

Ottawa Senators vs Dallas Stars

Head-to-Head: Senators 1 – 0 Stars

The Ottawa Senators took an early-season matchup from the Stars, winning 4-2 on October 24. Tonight, their 20th-ranked defence (even with solid goaltending from Anton Forsberg) will need to contain Jason Robertson, who sits only one goal back of the league lead in goal-scoring with 23. They’ll need to do without their best defensive defenseman in Artem Zub, who’s on injured reserve with a jaw injury. The Dallas Stars shelled Maple Leafs goalie Matt Murray in their last game but were shut out by the best goalie performance in the league this season. Expect them to continue strong play against a weaker defensive team and get back in the win column on the back of their third-ranked offence.

Prediction: Stars win 4-2

Main photo:

Embed from Getty Images