NHL Predictions: December 31 Including Buffalo Sabres vs Boston Bruins

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 28: Boston Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman (1) celebrates with Boston Bruins goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) after winning the National Hockey League game between the Boston Bruins and the New Jersey Devils on December 28, 2022 at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. (Photo by Andrew Mordzynski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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 Buffalo Sabres and the Boston Bruins. 

NHL Predictions: Buffalo Sabres vs Boston Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks vs Columbus Blue Jackets

Head to Head: Blackhawks 1-0 Blue Jackets

The first of our NHL Predictions is between two bottom feeders. Welcome to the Connor Bedard bowl. The Chicago Blackhawks take on the Columbus Blue Jackets in the lottery sweepstakes. Chicago took the first meeting in a lopsided 5-2 decision.

Things are as bad as they are in Columbus, but nothing is worse than the injury bug that’s plagued the roster. A hopeful season has turned into a nightmare. Newcomer Johnny Gaudreau has been great for the club, and Boone Jenner leads the team in goals. The two guys to watch for Chicago are their two biggest trade chips; Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Toews is tied for the team lead in goals and Kane leads in points. It isn’t the most enticing matchup, but Chicago can continuously showcase its shiny veterans.

Prediction: Blackhawks defeat Blue Jackets 3-1

Nashville Predators vs Vegas Golden Knights

Head to Head: Predators 0-0 Golden Knights

The Nashville Predators head to Sin City to take on the Vegas Golden Knights. This is the first meeting between the two teams this season. Vegas is coming off a shootout loss and is on a two-game losing skid. Nashville has also dropped the last two losing to two division rivals in those games.

Vegas is still a high calibre team, but they are down badly with injuries right now. Most notably, Jack Eichel is out of the lineup. Nashville should want to capitalize on all the injuries, but it will be tough against a great defensive group in Vegas. They only have three players beyond the 10-goal mark.

Prediction: Golden Knights defeat Predators 4-2

Philadelphia Flyers vs Los Angeles Kings

Head to Head: Flyers 0-0 Kings

This is the first matchup between the two clubs. Both are on opposite spectrums as the Los Angeles Kings sit pretty in the top three in the Pacific Division, whereas the Philadelphia Flyers are fading fast.

The Flyers will need to be at their best tonight. Los Angeles has a plethora of talent capable of scoring goals. Kevin Fiala, Anze Kopitar, and Gabriel Villardi highlight the forward group. For a team that struggles to score, the only way they can secure a victory is due to the play of Carter Hart.

Prediction: Kings defeat Flyers 3-1

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Montreal Canadiens vs Washington Capitals

Head to Head: Canadiens 0-1 Capitals

This matchup on our NHL Predictions is a good one. The Montreal Canadiens take on the Washington Capitals. Washington took the first meeting in a 3-1 decision.

Alex Ovechkin made history last week, but that’s not all that’s been going on in the nation’s capital. After what appeared to be a slow start and hit by the injury bug, the Capitals are thriving. Entering tonight they are on a five game winning streak and are clawing their way into the playoffs. They sit tied for third in the division and are right points out of first. They’ve closed the gap and will continue to do so.

Montreal sits in the basement on the division, but overall they’ve looked lightyears better under their new coach. They’ve dropped three in a row, but these are growing pains. Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield continue to lead the way for them and are fun to watch. But with how hot Washington is and healthy, they go down swinging.

Prediction: Capitals defeat Canadiens 3-2

Buffalo Sabres vs Boston Bruins

Head to Head: Sabres 0-1 Bruins

Tonights featured matchup is an Atlantic Division showdown. The Buffalo Sabres travel to the East Coast to take on the Boston Bruins. Boston took the first meeting between the two in a 3-1 decision. But this has all the makings of being a good hockey game.

Who doesn’t love offence and scoring? Both teams offer plenty of it. The Bruins lead the league in goals (133) and Buffalo is fourth with 126, but they rank first with 3.94 goals per game. This matchup displays high-calibre talent at the forward position with Tage Thompson, Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch. Boston counters that with David Pastrnak, Taylor Hall, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand. Just great hockey to watch.

One key factor for this matchup is special teams play. The Sabres have the second best powerplay unit (29.8%), while also scoring 30 goals (5th in the league). Boston’s second-ranked penalty kill will be a good test for both teams. The biggest kicker is the Bruins powerplay against the Sabres penalty kill. They have scored one goal more than Buffalo with the man advantage, and they have the fourth-best unit. Buffalo, however, has the 25th-best penalty kill and will need to be sharp in that area.

Boston grabs the edge in the crease. Linus Ullmark has been sensational this season playing Vezina calibre hockey. His counterpart Jeremy Swayman has looked better as of late. But don’t count out the ageless wonder that is Craig Anderson. It’ll be an offensive outburst, with Boston providing that much-needed save at the end.

Prediction: Bruins defeat Sabres 4-3

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