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NHL Predictions: December 17th Including Toronto Maple Leafs vs Washington Capitals

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 for NHL Predictions is the Toronto Maple Leafs vs Washington Capitals.

Be sure to check out our other set of NHL Predictions too.

NHL Predictions

Dallas Stars vs Carolina Hurricanes

Head-to-Head: Stars 0 – 0 Hurricanes

This should be a very entertaining game. The Dallas Stars have had an amazing start to the season. Largely led by Jason Robertson who is cementing himself as a star and household name in this league. Pete DeBoer’s system has them playing more offensively and it has made the team fun to watch. It has also rejuvenated Jamie Benn who looks excellent alongside Ty Dellandrea.

The Carolina Hurricanes are unsurprisingly also off to a strong start. They are only four points behind a New Jersey Devils team that had one of the hottest starts on record. The canes have won three in a row and are 7-3-0 in their last 10. Pyotr Kochetkov has been huge for them as Frederik Andersen has been once again injured.

Prediction: Hurricanes win 3-2 in Overtime.

New York Rangers vs Philadelphia Flyers

Rangers 1 – 0 Flyers

The New York Rangers took Game 1 of the season series 1-0 over the Philadelphia Flyers. That was just another game this season that the Flyers have struggled to score. They made headlines today when they scratched leading scorer Kevin Hayes. The Flyers have just 74 goals for and 100 against. That ranks last and second-last in their division. To say it has been a tough stretch would be an understatement.

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The Rangers have won five in a row and look to keep climbing in the Metro standings. Games like these are ones they will need to win. They snapped a 15-game point streak for the Maple Leafs Thursday and look to take two more points tonight. Jaroslav Halak is likely to get the start tonight. Without Igor Shesterkin in net, the Rangers will need to emphasize playing better defensively. Look for this to be another low-scoring matchup.

Prediction: Rangers win 3-1.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Montreal Canadiens

Head-to-Head: Lightning 0 – 0 Canadiens

The Tampa Bay Lightning have really started to heat up after a slow start. Winners of four in a row and 8-2-0 in their last 10, this team is really starting to round back into form. Nick Paul is having a solid year with 20 points in 29 games. Andrei Vasilevskiy has been steady as usual, posting a .913 in a year that save percentage is down. This team is very dangerous and will be hungry for two more points tonight.

On the other side, the Montreal Canadiens have been a plucky team this year. Expected to once again be near the bottom of the standings, they have made every two points a hard one to earn. Their defensive group is extremely young which can lead to some mistakes. However, the amount of youth has kept a positive energy around this team. They have speed, skill, and some toughness too. Look for the inexperience to hurt against a very veteran squad tonight. However, this should still be a solid game.

Prediction: Lightning win 4-2.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Washington Capitals

Head-to-Head: Leafs 1 – 0 Capitals

The Toronto Maple Leafs had their 15-game point streak snapped Thursday. Mitch Marner also had his 23-game point streak snapped. Tonight, it will be about rebounding and getting back on the right track. Losses are going to happen, and the fact that this team had 15 games with a point is insanely impressive. Especially given the state of their blueline. It has helped that both Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov have looked great so far. Samsonov has two straight shutouts and is expected to face his former team in the Capitals tonight.

For Washignton, they are hunting for a wild card spot. A 6-3-1 run in their last 10 has them just one point behind the final wild card team. However, the bigger news this week was Alex Ovechkin hitting goal 800. Tonight could be the night he ties or even passes Gordie Howe on the all-time goal list. Howe has 801 and is currently second. Another good piece of news is Nicklas Backstrom is back practicing, but that won’t affect tonight. Still, with the Capitals right back in the playoff hunt, look for them to come out hungry tonight.

No doubt that Ovechkin will be all over the place. Keeping even more focus on him than usual may have to be the gameplan for Toronto. However, for Washington, they can’t be over-focused on feeding him the puck. If he isn’t open, they need to find another play to make. This should be a thrilling game and its why it is our NHL Predictions featured match.

Prediction: Capitals win 4-3 in overtime.

Florida Panthers vs New Jersey Devils

Head-to-Head: Panthers 0 – 0 Devils

The Florida Panthers desperately need points in this game. They currently sit at 32 points which is three out of a wildcard and seven behind the Lightning for third in the division. Matthew Tkachuk has had an amazing year but that has been the biggest bright spot. The team as a whole has struggled and needs to start turning it around. 4-5-1 in their last 10 just won’t cut it.

The New Jersey Devils are having an amazing season. Jack Hughes has been great and it feels like every move they made in the offseason has paid off. Including picking up Vitek Vanecek from the Capitals, who currently has a .912 save percentage. The Devils play a very solid defensive game and will be interesting to see if a Florida team known for its offence can beat it. On the other side, the Panthers blueline may be overwhelmed by the depth of the Devils forwards.

Prediction: Devils win 5-2.

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