NHL Predictions: December 20 Including Toronto Maple Leafs vs Tampa Bay Lightning

NHL Predictions

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 and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

NHL Predictions: Including Tampa Bay Lightning vs Toronto Maple Leafs

Columbus Blue Jackets vs Philadelphia Flyers

Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 2-0 Flyers

The Columbus Blue Jackets take on the Philadelphia Flyers in a battle of two teams in the basement of the Metropolitan Division. The Blue Jackets have lost four games straight, while the Flyers are 3-5-2 in their last ten. Columbus is coming off a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, while the Flyers dropped their most recent decision to the New York Rangers 6-3. In addition, the Flyers recently announced that forward Cam Atkinson will miss the remainder of the season as he undergo neck surgery. Goaltending has been horrendous for the Blue Jackets this season, and Elvis Merzlikins will start tonight. Carter Hart will be in the Flyers’ net for the contest. Columbus will be looking to improve to 3-0 on the season against the Flyers.

Flyers win 5-3

New York Rangers vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Head-to-Head: Rangers 0-0 Penguins

In a rematch of last season’s playoff matchup, two divisional rivals, the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, meet up for the first time this season. Both teams have been heating up lately, with the Rangers riding a seven-game winning streak into the contest and the Penguins 7-2-1 in their last ten games. Artemi Panarin leads the Rangers with 40 points in 33 games, while Sidney Crosby leads the Penguins with 40 points in 31 games. Igor Shesterkin is expected to start for the Rangers, and Tristan Jarry will get the nod for Pittsburgh. Expect a tightly contested affair with early-season playoff feels in this one.

Penguins win 4-3 in Overtime.

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New Jersey Devils vs Carolina Hurricanes

Head-to-Head: Devils 0-0 Hurricanes

In another Metropolitan Division matchup, the division-leading New Jersey Devils take on the second-place Carolina Hurricanes. This is the first meeting between the two clubs this season. The Devils shocked the NHL with their hot start to the season but have recently been struggling as are riding a five-game losing streak. On the other hand, the Hurricanes have been playing their best hockey of the season and enter the contest on a five-game winning streak, most recently picking up a 3-2 win over the Penguins. Rookie sensation Pyotr Kochetkov will start for the Hurricanes, while Vitek Vanecek is expected to go for the Devils. Look at each team’s streaks to continue as the Hurricanes pick up the win tonight.

Hurricanes win 4-1

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Toronto Maple Leafs

Head-to-Head: Lightning 1-0 Maple Leafs

In our featured night game, the Toronto Maple Leafs play host to Atlantic Division rivals Tampa Bay Lightning as the two teams meet up for the second time this season. The Lightning picked up a 4-3 overtime win in the first contest between the two teams. Alex Killorn scored the overtime game-winner, and Mitch Marner broke the Leafs’ point streak record in the first contest. However, Toronto will still be looking for retribution for last year’s playoff exit as the two clubs battled to a seventh and deciding game in the first round.

Toronto is holding down second place in the Atlantic with 44 points, while the Lightning’s recent hot streak has them trailing by just three points. The Lightning have reeled off five straight victories as goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy found his game after struggling to start the season. Vasilevskiy will start for the Lightning, while Matt Murray is expected to start for the Leafs’.

Lightning win 5-4

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