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 St Louis Blues and the Minnesota Wild.
NHL Predictions: St Louis Blues vs Minnesota Wild
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Arizona Coyotes
Head to Head: Penguins 1-0 Coyotes
Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins head to Mullet Arena to take on the Arizona Coyotes. Pittsburgh has been off to a bad streak, losing their last six games. Arizona hasn’t made out much better as they’ve dropped their last four games. Tristan Jarry remains out, which is a low blow to the Penguins.
Of course, Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are must-watch players, but a pair of blueliners in Arizona is essential to protect. Jakob Chychrun and Shayne Gostisbehere are having excellent years. Upon returning, Chychrun is a point-per-game player, and Gostisbehere is second on the team in points. Teams could come calling for their services come deadline time. With the Penguins continuing to struggle, Arizona will have a victory on home ice.
Prediction: Coyotes defeat Penguins 3-2
Calgary Flames vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head to Head: Flames 0-0 Blackhawks
The next game on the NHL Predictions is a doozy. Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks host the surging Calgary Flames. Chicago has nothing to play for other than Connor Bedard, whereas Calgary is clinging to playoff hopes.
Calgary has gone 3-2 in their last five, highlighted by an impressive win over the Islanders. After what appeared to be a slower start, Jacob Markstrom has found his form. In his last five games, he is 3-2 with a 2.00 GAA, and a .916 save percentage. This bodes well as the Blackhawks have scored the fewest goals this season making this a layup of a game for him. There is enough talent on the Flames to put the puck in the net as well.
Prediction: Flames defeat Blackhawks 4-2
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Philadelphia Flyers
Head to Head: Maple Leafs 2-0 Flyers
The next game on the NHL Predictions is an Eastern Conference showdown. Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Philadelphia Flyers. Toronto is aiming to chase Boston in the standings, whereas Philadelphia is hoping to land the first overall pick.
Toronto has some stellar firepower. Aside from Matthews, the top six unit is something to watch for. Between Mitch Marner, William Nylander, and John Tavares it is no surprise the team has scored the 9th most goals in the league.
One key element of this game is goaltending. The Flyers do not have many bright spots but the lone one is Carter Hart. He currently ranks sixth with 12.3 GSAX. However, Toronto has the 12th-best tandem in terms of save percentage, and both Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov have shown they can shut the door. The Flyers lack scoring punch, making life easy for those two goalies. Hart is capable of stealing a game, but the firepower from Toronto will be a bit to overcome.
Prediction: Maple Leafs defeat Flyers 4-1
Boston Bruins vs Anaheim Ducks
Head to Head: Bruins 1-0 Ducks
Our next game on the NHL Predictions is inter-conference play. The Boston Bruins conclude the California road trip against the Anaheim Ducks. Boston is riding success as we begin 2023, whereas Anaheim has won two games in a row.
This game is a tale of two teams in polar opposite spectrums. Boston has scored the most amount of goals, whereas Anaheim has scored the second-fewest. In addition, Boston has allowed the fewest amount of goals. Another area is special teams’ play. Boston is at the top in that regard, while Anaheim is in the basement.
Unless Boston comes out slow due to playing the night before, Boston should come away with the two points.
Prediction: Bruins defeat Ducks 6-2
St Louis Blues vs Minnesota Wild
Head to Head: Blues 0-1 Wild
Tonight’s featured matchup is a pivotal Central Division showdown. The St Louis Blues take on their rival Minnesota Wild. Things are getting tightly contested in the division, as the Blues are only five points out of a playoff position.
There is plenty to watch for in terms of calibre talent. Despite the Blues being without Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly, they boast Jordan Kyrou and Robert Thomas. Despite being without their key stars, they’ve won 3 out of their last four.
Minnesota has a dynamic duo of their own in Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello. The offence goes through them and especially with the man advantage. Kaprizov leads the team with 10 goals and 19 points with the man advantage.
One aspect to watch will be the goaltending; Marc-Andre Fleury and Jordan Binnington. Both have been playing better as of late. Fleury is 3-1 in his last four with a 1.75 GAA whereas Binnington is also 3-1 in his last four but with a brutal 3.52 GAA. On home ice and with better goaltending, Minnesota emerges in a crucial matchup.
Prediction: Wild defeat Blues 4-3
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