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 for NHL Predictions is the Chicago Blackhawks vs Calgary Flames.
Anaheim Ducks vs Colorado Avalanche
Head-to-Head: Ducks 0 – 0 Avalanche
This is the first of three matchups between the Anaheim Ducks and the Colorado Avalanche. It is also a rare case where both fanbases would likely be OK seeing Colorado take all six points. The Ducks are in a rebuild, which means they are looking for the first overall pick. Currently, there is quite a tank battle going on between themselves, the Blackhawks, and the Arizona Coyotes.
Ironically all teams playing tonight. The Ducks do still have reasons to watch though. Mason MacTavish and Trevor Zegras are two exciting young players, along with names such as Kevin Shattenkirk and John Klingberg who could be on the move this deadline.
For the Avs, their goal remains to keep getting healthier. They have been crushed by injuries this year and have just tried to stay afloat. However, they have climbed back up to third in their division and now will look to cut the cap for second. Everyone knows Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar are superstars, but it is Mikko Rantanen who is helping keep this team where they are now.
Prediction: Avalanche win 5-3.
St. Louis Blues vs Arizona Coyotes
Head-to-Head: Blues 0 – 0 Coyotes
In another first matchup between these two teams, the St. Louis Blues find themselves in a spot they are not used to. That spot? Out of the playoffs. Injuries haven’t helped but it appears overall age could also be catching up to this Blues squad. Jordan Binnington also rotates from the guy he was in 2019 to a below-replacement NHL goalie.
The Coyotes, as mentioned above, are also tanking. While they are not quite as bad as some may have expected, they certainly aren’t amazing. The roster does try hard so taking them for granted on any given night will end in a loss. However, unless Karel Vejmelka steals a game, it will be hard for the Coyotes to win.
Prediction: Blues win 4-2.
Chicago Blackhawks vs Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Blackhawks 1 – 0 Flames
In our final matchup of the night for NHL Predictions, the Chicago Blackhawks travel to Calgary. The Hawks already took one off of the Flames on January 8th, there is no doubt the Flames will be hungry for revenge. That win was one of just 14 on the year for the Hawks. Six of those 14 have come in their last 10 as they boast a 6-4-0 record. By far the best 10-game stretch they have had all season. Still, as we near closer to the deadline, the rumours of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews future are what will highlight the Hawks newsroom.
On the Flames side, they are in the final wild-card spot by just one point. However, they are amazingly only off the division lead by six points, despite being fifth in the Pacific. Games like tonight are key for the Flames to fight their way back into things. They can’t toss away two points against rebuilding teams and expect to keep pace in this division. The key will be in net. Jacob Markstrom hasn’t been near good enough this season. This has even led to Daniel Vladar getting starts more often.
If the Flames control the puck and just get good goaltending, that should be enough tonight. They are the better team on paper and should have every reason to be the hungrier team on the ice too.
Prediction: Flames win 3-2.