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 Detroit Red Wings.
NHL Predictions: New Jersey Devils vs Detroit Red Wings
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Minnesota Wild
Head to Head: Lightning 0-0 Wild
The first game tonight is between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Minnesota Wild. Both teams are in the thick of things and sit in third place in their respective divisions.
This game is highlighted by the forward group, especially a pair of Russians. Kirill Kaprizov and Nikita Kucherov are the two best on their teams and lead in points. Seeing these two go head to head is special for hockey fans all around, and are game-changers.
A few things to watch in this matchup is a star-studded forward group in Tampa, against a defensive group in Minnesota. Tampa Bay averages 3.57 goals per game and has scored the ninth most goals all year. Minnesota averages 2.81 goals against per game and ranks sixth in the league in that regard.
If there was any doubt in goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, that doubt is put to bed. He ranks sixth in GSAX (11.6) and has been on fire as of late. Vasilevskiy is 4-1 in his last five with a 1.58 GAA. Good luck to Minnesota in this one.
Prediction: Lightning defeat Wild 4-2
Dallas Stars vs Anaheim Ducks
Head to Head: Stars 1-0 Ducks
The second game on our NHL Predictions is between the Dallas Stars and the Anaheim Ducks. Dallas took the first meeting in a smothering 5-0 victory. This game also features one of the best teams in the conference against one of the worst.
Dallas is one of the best teams in all aspects of the game. They are third in the league in goals (137), and ninth in goals against (102). In addition, they have great special teams, with the second-ranked powerplay and the fourth-best penalty kill. They are one of the deepest teams in terms of production, while also getting good goaltending.
Anaheim is as bad as they are. They lead the league in goals against, which does not bode well playing a Stars team who already exploited that weakness once already. To make matters worse they allow the most high-danger chances with 488, almost 100 more than the next team. Even with Dallas playing the night prior, it’s a layup of a game for the two points.
Prediction: Stars defeat Ducks 5-1
New Jersey Devils vs Detroit Red Wings
Head to Head: Devils 1-1 Red Wings
Tonight’s featured matchup on the NHL Predictions is between the New Jersey Devils and the Detroit Red Wings. This is the third and final meeting between the two clubs. Each team has won and in a dominant fashion. Detroit took the first meeting, spoiling the Devils’ home opener, but the Devils responded with a 6-2 victory in the next meeting.
New Jersey is 2-3 in their last five games and scoring has not been as strong as it was in November. They averaged 2.42 goals per game in the month of December. The one constant though has been star centre, Jack Hughes. He has 21 goals, which is five shy from his total last year and has four goals in his last five games.
Detroit is 3-2 in their last five games. It’s a building year as they are fourth in the jam-packed Atlantic Division. Captain Dylan Larkin is having a killer year for the Wings. He leads the team with 13 goals and 32 points. Over half of the roster has double-digit point totals as contributions have come all around.
The X factor will come down to the goaltending. New Jersey is one of the best possession teams in all of hockey, and the goaltending for Detroit will need to stand tall. Goaltending has been shaky as of late for New Jersey, but Vitek Vanecek has stood tall in net. With the Devils lacklustre scoring ability as of late, Detroit could pounce on them and capitalize on their chances and secure the victory.
Prediction: Red Wings defeat Devils 4-3