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 Calgary Flames and the Winnipeg Jets.
NHL Predictions: Including Calgary Flames vs Winnipeg Jets
Montreal Canadiens vs Nashville Predators
Head-to-Head: Canadiens 0-0 Predators
The Montreal Canadiens visit the Nashville Predators as the two cross-conference teams will meet for the first time this season. The teams split last season’s series, each winning one game. However, the Canadiens are falling fast in the standings amidst a five-game losing streak. Most recently, Montreal was on the wrong side of a 9-2 trouncing at the hands of the Washington Capitals. However, the losing streak is a blessing in disguise for Montreal as they have catapulted themselves back into the thick of things when looking at the draft lottery sweepstakes.
Nashville is 3-3-4 in their last ten, last dropping a 5-4 overtime decision to the Vegas Golden Knights. Both teams have struggled to find offence this season, as the Canadiens’ 2.59 goals per game rank 30th and the Predators’ 2.63 goals per game rank 29th. Another common issue for both clubs is their low powerplay efficiency. Montreal has the 32nd-ranked powerplay, capitalizing at a 15.5% success rate. The Predators’ powerplay is ranked 28th, with a 16.8% success rate. The difference maker tonight will be between the pipes, as Montreal has confirmed Sam Montembeault will get the start for them, and Juuse Saros will start for Nashville.
Prediction: Predators win 3-1
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head-to-Head: Lightning 0-0 Blackhawks
In another cross-conference match, we have a repeat of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final as the Chicago Blackhawks host the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Blackhawks got the best of Lightning by winning their third championship of the decade back in 2015. However, times have changed, as Chicago has just one win against the Lightning in their last ten meetings. The Lightning remain perennial contenders, while the Blackhawks sit near the bottom of the league standings.
Tampa is riding a three-game winning streak and is an impressive 8-2-0 in their last ten. Andrei Vasilevskiy has returned to his elite level of play and has eight wins in his last ten starts. He will start in the net for the Lightning. Chicago will turn to Alex Stalock as they navigate a tough season. Expect the Lightning to remain hot as they try to close the gap behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division.
Prediction: Lightning win 5-1
Calgary Flames vs Winnipeg Jets
Head-to-Head: Flames 1-0 Jets
Our NHL Predictions featured game of the night is an All-Canadian contest as the Calgary Flames pay a visit to the Canada Life Centre to take on the Winnipeg Jets. This will be the season’s second meeting between the two Canadian rivals. The Jets will seek to even the season series after dropping the first game by a score of 3-2. Flames’ forward Trevor Lewis notched a shorthanded marker late in the second period, which was the eventual game-winner.
The Flames have picked up points in eight of their last ten outings, leapfrogging them to third place in the tightly contested Pacific Division. Jacob Markstrom will start for Calgary and has been finding his game after a poor start to the season. Markstrom has allowed just two goals in four of his last five starts. Connor Hellebuyck will start for the Jets on the opposite end of the ice. Hellebuyck is having a sensational season, and he has been a workhorse for the Jets. He has an 18-9-1 record with three shutouts, a 2.32 GAA, and a .928 SV%.
Hellebuyck has been getting offensive support this season, as well as Kyle Connor, who leads the team with 16 goals and 27 assists for 43 points. Pierre-Luc Dubois has been having his best season in Winnipeg under new head coach Rick Bowness. He has scored 17 goals and 23 assists for 40 points in 37 games. Another player having a breakout year is Josh Morrissey, who Bowness has given the green light to play a more offensive game. He sits second song all defenceman with 42 points. Calgary is still seeking more from their forward group, as their highest scorer, Elias Lindholm, has 12 goals and 22 assists for 34 points.
Prediction: Jets win 4-2
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