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 Jersey Devils and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
NHL Predictions: New Jersey Devils vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Nashville Predators vs Anaheim Ducks
Head to Head: Predators 0-0 Ducks
The first game on the slate is between the Nashville Predators and the Anaheim Ducks. While Anaheim is in the conference’s basement, Nashville is trying to keep pace within their division.
Confidence is riding high for Anaheim after defeating the Vegas Golden Knights in a shootout nights prior. Growing pains are imminent, but Trevor Zegras and Troy Terry make them fun to watch. Nashville is a team that struggles to score goals but are playing a team that allows the most. Nashville has enough talent to secure the two points against a lesser team.
Prediction: Predators defeat Ducks 4-1
Florida Panthers vs Carolina Hurricanes
Head to Head: Panthers 1-0 Hurricanes
This matchup is a doozy to watch. The Florida Panthers take on the red-hot Carolina Hurricanes. Florida took the first meeting, shutting out the Hurricanes. But this time around could be very different.
Carolina has been the hottest team in hockey. They took the division lead and have won nine games in a row. In addition, they have only lost once in the month of December. They are healthy and are getting excellent goaltending.
Florida on the other hand is a different story. They have lost four out of five and sit well out of the playoff race. The acquisition of Matthew Tkachuk has paid off as he is their best player. Whatever line he is on, accounts for a large portion of their production. With the way Carolina is playing, goals may be hard to come by.
Prediction: Hurricanes defeat Panthers 4-2
Edmonton Oilers vs Seattle Kraken
Head to Head: Oilers 0-0 Kraken
A rivalry within the Pacific Division is next for our NHL predictions. The Edmonton Oilers take on the Seattle Kraken in a pivotal matchup. Both teams are tied with 40 points and looking to keep pace in the closely contested race. This is the first of two meetings in a matter of days.
Edmonton continues to find ways to get it done. They are led heavily by their top six, and their top-ranked power play unit. Seattle has lost two straight games to division rivals making this a huge matchup. Like Edmonton they are led by their top six, however, they have a bottom six group capable of supporting them.
This game could primarily come down to goaltending. Seattle defends very well, allowing the seventh-fewest high-danger chances. If they can get that key save, securing the victory should not be a problem.
Prediction: Kraken defeat Oilers 3-2
New Jersey Devils vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Head to Head: Devils 0-0 Penguins
Tonight’s featured matchup is a crucial matchup within the Metropolitan Division. The New Jersey Devils travel to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. With the gap in the division closing tightly, every point matters in order to keep pace.
The historic month the Devils had is now a fading memory. New Jersey lost its division lead and the gap amongst their foes has closed in. They have lost eight of their last nine games and struggling to score goals. Pittsburgh on the other hand went on to win seven games in a row. However, they’ve lost four of their last five games.
This game will have plenty of firepower — the veterans against the kids. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin take on Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier. It’s a great matchup to watch and for these players to play in. And given the Devils scoring woes, they could struggle to defeat a team capable of putting the puck in the net.
Prediction: Penguins defeat Devils 4-2