NHL Predictions: December 28th Including Boston Bruins vs New Jersey Devils

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 Boston Bruins and the New Jersey Devils.

NHL Predictions

Montreal Canadiens vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Head-to-Head: Canadiens 0 – 1 Lightning

The Tampa Bay Lightning play host to the Montreal Canadiens as both teams see the first game action following the holiday break. This is the second meeting between the two divisional opponents this season. The Lightning won the first matchup quite handily, topping the Canadiens by a score of 5-1. The Lightning have had a strong month in December with a 7-3-0 record. However, their five-game winning streak ended with two consecutive losses before the break.

The Canadiens have lost four of their last five, dropping in down the standings into possible contention for the draft lottery sweepstakes. The Lightning are near total health, while Montreal is dealing with several injuries. Jake Allen is expected to start in goal for Montreal, while Andrei Vasilevskiy will get the nod for the Lightning. Expect the Lightning’s high-powered offence to expose the Canadiens’ blue line and pick up the victory.

Prediction: Lightning win 5-2

Detroit Red Wings vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Head-to-Head: Red Wings 0 – 0 Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins are on the second night of a back-to-back in which they dropped the first game 5-1. The Detroit Red Wings get back into game action following their break, most recently picking up a big 7-4 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tonight marks the season’s first matchup for the two Eastern Conference clubs. Despite last night’s loss, the Penguins are playing their best hockey this month and have a 7-2-1 record in their previous ten. Detroit remains in fourth place in the Atlantic Division but have been getting inconsistent results of late, posting a 3-5-2 record over their last ten.

The Penguins’ backup, Casey DeSmith, is expected to start in the net, while Ville Husso will start for the Red Wings. Pittsburgh bounces back into the win column following last night’s poor showing.

Prediction: Penguins win 4-2

Boston Bruins vs New Jersey Devils

Head-to-Head: Bruins 1 – 0 Devils

In our featured game of the night for NHL Predictions, the Boston Bruins visit the New Jersey Devils on the second night of their back-to-back. Both teams got out of the gates running and sat on top of the Eastern Conference standings for much of the season’s first two months. However, the Devils have had a shaky December and find themselves slipping down the Metropolitan Division standings. The two teams played their first game of the season just before the holiday break, with Boston winning the contest 4-3.

The Devils will look to take advantage of the short turnaround the Bruins face. New Jersey will have fresh legs coming out of the holiday break. However, the Bruins appeared to shake their holiday rust off with a solid third-period performance in Ottawa. Cam Talbot single-handedly robbed the Bruins of a victory as Boston outshot the Senators 51-32 in a shootout loss for the Bruins. Despite their strong results, Boston hasn’t been getting full 60-minute efforts of late, often falling behind and being forced to make third-period comebacks to pick up points in the standings.

Bruins Stay Strong

Linus Ullmark will start for the Bruins and has been a strong Vezina Candidate to this point in the season. Ullmark has a 19-1-1 record with a 1.94 GAA and a .936 SV%. On the other end of the ice, the Devils will start Vitek Vanecek, who has been impressive in his own right with a 12-4-2 record, 2.41 GAA and a .909 SV%.

Offensively, Bruins star David Pastrnak looks to get back on the scoreboard after seeing his 10-game point streak end against the Senators. Pastrnak leads the Bruins with 24 goals and 23 assists for 47 points in 34 games. Jack Hughes has emerged as a legitimate superstar for the Devils this season and leads the team with 18 goals and 21 assists for 39 points in 34 games.

Expect the Bruins to be hungry to return to their winning ways, while the Devils will seek retribution for their loss to the Bruins before the break. This one should go down to the wire however, the Bruins will prevail with the victory.

Prediction: Bruins win 5-3.

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