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 Boston Bruins and the New Jersey Devils. Be sure to check out our other NHL Predictions later on.
Philadelphia Flyers vs Carolina Hurricanes
Head-to-Head: Flyers 0-1 Hurricanes
With their OT win Thursday night, the Carolina Hurricanes picked up their seventh straight victory. They are 9-0-1 in their last ten and have taken over the lead of the Metropolitan Division. Netminder Pyotr Kochetkov should get the nod in net, which is bad news for the Flyers. He has won his last five starts, allowing five goals with two shutouts. The solid goaltending has been welcome as the Hurricanes are still missing Sebastian Aho, and team-leading goal scorer Andrei Svechnikov has been held without a point in three straight.
The Philadelphia Flyers are heading in the opposite direction of the Hurricanes. Also playing on Thursday and losing to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Flyers are now 3-5-2 in their last 10. They did play the Hurricanes well in their lone matchup this season, losing 4-3 in OT. The Law of averages would suggest that the Hurricanes are due to lose soon. Unfortunately for the Flyers, the second night of back-to-backs tells the most suggestive stat. The Hurricanes have won every one of theirs, and by a considerable margin. The Flyers have lost every one of theirs, and by a considerable margin.
Hurricanes win 4-1
Winnipeg Jets vs Washington Capitals
Head-to-Head: Jets 0-1 Capitals
After a 5-2 loss to the Capitals on December 11th, the Winnipeg Jets have split their last six games. Thursday’s game against the Boston Bruins was hard-fought ending in a 3-2 loss. Connor Hellebuyck started, meaning David Rittich should get the nod in net. He has been a solid backup, especially lately. He has allowed just five goals in his last three games on 93 shots. Kyle Connor is also on fire lately with four goals and nine points in his last five games.
The Washington Capitals also played on Thursday, a 3-2 OT victory over the Ottawa Senators. The win took Washington to 8-2 in their last ten games. Charlie Lindgren finally got a night off after starting eight straight games, going 7-1 in those contests. He should be back between the pipes for this one. Alex Ovechkin is still one goal behind Gordie Howe on the all-time list and would love to reach the milestone at home. He scored against Winnipeg in the first matchup and is looking to duplicate that. At home, there will be ample opportunity.
While Winnipeg has a better-ranked offence and defence, the interesting stat is in the faceoff circle. Both teams are bad this season, ranking 22nd (Washington) and 26th (Winnipeg). But the Capitals are much better on the dot at home. The Jets are not only worse on the road, but they are also much worse on the road. Someone has to start with the puck, and that should be Washington. That will lead to more opportunities.
Capitals win 3-2
Boston Bruins vs New Jersey Devils
Head-to-Head: Bruins 0-0 Devils
The highly anticipated first meeting between these two teams comes right at the holiday break as a present for us all. The Boston Bruins continue to roll, picking up another victory Thursday. They are 7-1-2 in their last ten games as they start to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the Atlantic Division. It has been a very home-heavy schedule for Boston, where they have yet to lose in regulation. They now head out on the road, visiting New Jersey twice in the next week, where they are 8-4 thus far. They should have this season’s best goaltender in Linus Ullmark between the pipes, which will make life very difficult for the Devils.
After an incredible start to the season, the New Jersey Devils have cooled off quite a bit. A spirited victory Wednesday over the Florida Panthers improved their record to 3-5-2 in their last ten games. The Devils are sporting the 3rd best defence and the 8th best offence in the league. However, they have averaged just 2.5 goals per game in the last 10. While also surrendering at least four goals in half of those games. Jack Hughes has four points in his last five games, and Jesper Bratt finally got back in the goal column with two on Wednesday. But the secondary scoring has dried up and the Devils will need that to keep up with the 2nd-ranked Bruins offence.
All the signs point to a low-scoring, tightly-contested game. Which of course means this will be a track meet and potentially an instant classic.
Bruins win 6-5
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