NHL Predictions: December 22 Including New York Islanders vs New York Rangers

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 between the New York Islanders and the New York Rangers. Be sure to check out our other NHL Predictions later on.

NHL Predictions: Including New York Islanders vs New York Rangers

Philadelphia Flyers vs Toronto Maple Leafs

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

The Philadelphia Flyers pay a visit to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a matchup between two teams on opposite sides of the standings. Unfortunately, the lowly Flyers have had no shortage of issues this season. Plagued by injuries to begin the season, the Flyers find themselves second last in the Eastern Conference Standings.

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Most recently, coach John Tortorella made Kevin Hayes a healthy scratch. Hayes leads the Flyers with 29 points in 32 games. Carter Hart is expected to start in goal for Philadelphia. The Maple Leafs, on the other hand, enter the contest currently tied for second place in the Atlantic Division. Toronto won the first meeting by a score of 5-2 and should have no problem picking up another win tonight.

Maple Leafs win 5-1

Carolina Hurricanes vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 2-0 Penguins

As we head into the holiday break, the Metropolitan Division playoff race is already in full swing. The Pittsburgh Penguins host the Carolina Hurricanes in the two teams’ third matchup of the season. The Hurricanes have surged to first place in the Metro with a six-game winning streak. However, the Penguins trail the Hurricanes by four points in the standing so points will be at a premium tonight. Carolina won the first two games, outscoring the Penguins 6-4.

Sidney Crosby leads all players in points at even-strength with 33. In total, the Penguins captain has 42 points in 32 games. Martin Necas leads a well-balanced Hurricanes attack with 30 points in 32 games. Rookie goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov has a 10-1-4 record to go with three shutouts. He will be between the pipes for Carolina, while Pittsburgh will start Tristan Jarry will start for Pittsburgh. Expect the intensity to be cranked up in this tightly contested matchup.

Penguins win 3-2 in Overtime

Washington Capitals vs Ottawa Senators

Head-to-Head: Capitals 0-1 Senators

The Washington Capitals visit the Canadian capital, Ottawa, to take on the Senators. Washington has been heating up and have climbed back into the Metro playoff picture, as they have a 7-2-1 record over their last ten games. The Ottawa Senators find themselves at the bottom of the Atlantic but have been finding ways to win games of late, going 6-3-1 over their last ten.

The biggest storyline is whether Alex Ovechkin can tie Gordie Howe with 801 career goals for second all-time. Ovechkin has been held off the scoresheet since scoring a hat trick to hit the 800-goal mark. He has scored 35 career goals in 55 career games against Ottawa. Charlie Lindgren will start for the Capitals, and Ottawa will go with Cam Talbot. Washington wins, and Ovechkin notches two goals and surpasses Howe in a high-scoring affair.

Capitals win 6-4

Winnipeg Jets vs Boston Bruins

Head-to-Head: Jets 0-0 Bruins

In this cross-conference matchup, the NHL-leading Boston Bruins host the Winnipeg Jets. The Bruins have yet to lose in regulation on home ice and have a 17-0-2 record at the TD Garden. Winnipeg has also been enjoying a successful season as they sit in second place in the Central Division with 43 points. The Jets are expected to have Vezina candidate Connor Hellebuyck back in the net after missing their last game due to illness. Boston is expected to start their own Vezina candidate, Linus Ullmark, who has compiled an 18-1-1 record to start the season. Taylor Hall has been quietly playing a significant role for Boston and sits second on the team in points with 27. Hall enters on a five-game point streak. Kyle Connor has been on fire for the Jets and enters on a ten-game point streak.

Bruins win 4-2

New York Islanders vs New York Rangers

Head-to-Head: Islanders 2-0 Rangers

The New York Islanders and the New York Rangers meet in our feature game on the night. This will be the third game in the “Battle of New York” rivalry. The Islanders have won both of the previous two contests outscoring the Rangers 7-3 while doing so. This one is sure to be entertaining as the Rangers’ recent play has seen them jump the Islanders in the Metro standings. The Isles sit just three points behind the Rangers in the most tightly contested division in the NHL.

Ilya Sorokin will start for the Islanders as Semyon Varlamov remains sidelined with an undisclosed injury. Cory Schneider has been recalled to serve as Sorokin’s backup. The Rangers will start Igor Shesterkin, who has had several strong performances of late. The Blueshirts’ are a different team than the last time these two met, as their forward group has been elevating their play. Artemi Panarin leads the Rangers with 40 points in 34 games, while Chris Kreider leads the team with 16 goals. Brock Nelson leads the Islanders in goals with 15 and points with 33 in 33 games.

Expect this edition of the Battle of New York to be a low-scoring contest, with both teams boasting strong goaltending. However, the difference maker could come down to special teams where the Rangers have the edge on the power play.

Rangers win 3-2.

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