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 Florida Panthers vs. New York Islanders. Be sure to check out our other NHL Predictions later on.
Florida Panthers vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Panthers 2 – 0 Islanders
It’s the final matchup of the season between the two clubs. Florida has won a pair of games and are looking for the season sweep. Florida is likely to go with Sergei Bobrovsky in the last game before the Christmas break. The Panthers are eighth in goals for, but 22nd in goals against. Carter Verhaeghe is the top goal-scorer going into Thursday’s games with 17 so far.
The Isles will be coming off back-to-back games and Cory Schneider could get the start in goal. However, this game might be a chance to give Ilya Sorokin a second straight start with the break coming up. New York is 15th in goals for and eighth in goals against going into Thursday’s action. Brock Nelson leads the way in goals with 15 going into Thursday night.
The Isles are looking to avoid the season sweep, but the Panthers getting a little more rest will give them a slight edge.
Prediction: Panthers win 3-2.
Colorado Avalanche vs Nashville Predators
Head-to-Head: Avalanche 2 – 0 Predators
It’s the third meeting of the season between the Colorado Avalanche and the Nashville Predators. It’s a rematch of the first-round series from last year’s Stanley Cup first round. Alexandar Georgiev is the projected starter for a Colorado team that has won four out of its last five. Mikko Rantanen leads the team in goals with this campaign.
The Predators are 31st in goals for, but a respectable 11th in goals allowed this season. Goalie Juuse Saros has been doing his best to keep Nashville in games with a .913 save percentage and 2.81 goals-against-average. Roman Josi keeps climbing the franchise list in points with his stellar performances.
The Avs are finding the sweet spot despite lineup issues. They always seem to match up well against the Predators.
Prediction: Avalanche win 4-2.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 0 – 0 Blackhawks
It’s the Connor Bedard Bowl for the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Chicago Blackhawks. The Jackets come into the game having lost five straight games and with lots of injuries. Daniil Tarasov is the projected starter, but always check online before deciding anything via goalie decisions. Columbus is 27th in goals for and 31st in goals against.
Chicago has lost eight straight games and has been dreadful in all phases. Petr Mrazek is the projected starter for the Hawks, which is 26th in goals against. The Blackhawks’ offence is dead-last with 70 goals going into Thursday night.
A win would almost be a loss on this occasion. Columbus picks up the win.
Predictions: Blue Jackets win 3-2.
Montreal Canadiens vs Dallas Stars
Head-to-Head: Canadiens 0 – 1 Stars
It’s the battle of the two Jakes as the Dallas Stars look for the season sweep of the Montreal Canadiens. Jake Allen is the likely starter in goal for the Habs in the last game before Christmas break. Montreal needs to do better when it gets a power play as its dead-last in converting with the extra man.
Jake Oettinger is the projected starter for Dallas, which beat Montreal, 5-2. The Stars have wins in three of the last five, but are coming off a loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Dallas is third in goals scored and has the ninth-best power play in the league. Jason Robertson can finish the half with 50 points with two in this game.
Dallas looks strong going into break, but should be wary of Montreal.
Prediction: Stars win 4-2.