NHL Predictions: January 28 Including Montreal Canadiens vs Ottawa Senators

OTTAWA, CANADA - DECEMBER 14: Joel Edmundson #44 of the Montreal Canadiens skates against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on December 14, 2022 in Ottawa, Ontario,Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photography/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 for NHL Predictions is the Montreal Canadiens vs Ottawa Senators.

NHL Predictions: Montreal Canadiens vs Ottawa Senators

Montreal Canadiens vs Ottawa Senators

Head to Head: Canadiens 0-1 Senators

In the featured matchup of today’s NHL predictions, we take a look at the battle for second to last in the Eastern Conference. It may not be a good test, given the injuries both teams will be playing for bragging rights. Some key members on the respective team’s injury lists:

Ottawa – Joshua Norris, Cam Talbot, Tyler Motte, Artem Zub

Montreal – Juraj Slafkovsky, Cole Caufield, Joel Edmundson, Brendan Gallagher.

Ottawa, with a much more complete line-up, in this rivalry by proximity game, is looking to win. They want their line-up of players to finish off strong and give themselves the confidence to start well next season. Given organizational injuries in net, Kevin Mandolese backs up Anton Forsberg for the time being. As for players looking for big games offensively, look no further than Tim Stutzle (43 points) and Brady Tkachuk (47 points). For Montreal, watch for Nick Suzuki and Arber Xhekaj to lead the team. He has established himself as a menace to the Senators already. So, if fireworks are going to start, look for him and Tkachuk to be front and centre.  Given the more complete line-up factor, look for the Senators to come away with the two points. However, look for a fiery affair.

Prediction: Senators win 4-3.

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St. Louis Blues vs Colorado Avalanche

Head to Head: Blues 1-1 Avalanche

The teams are both coming off disappointing losses on Thursday and are relatively close in the standings. However, that is where we can draw the line on the similarities. This season the St. Louis Blues have not played up to expectations. This might lead to them being sellers at the trade deadline. Moreover, their top players are not being their top players. According to Moneypuck.com, their top-ranked line combination of Josh Leivo, Ryan O’Reilly, and Brandon Saad sits at 60th at 49.3% in xGoals%. Meanwhile, Jordan Binnington supports an ineffective .891 SV% through 37 games.

On the other hand, the Colorado Avalanche are heating up. For the team, one player that has helped fuel their hot play is Valeri Nichushkin. Since his return from injury, the team has won five of six. Their three all-stars, Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon, and Cale Makar are motivated by their selection. Rantanen is on pace for a career year with 34 goals and 26 assists through 47 games. Colorado’s star power should be enough to win a big divisional matchup.

Prediction: Avalanche win 4-2.

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Boston Bruins vs Florida Panthers

Head to Head: Bruins 3-0 Panthers

The Boston Bruins have a double-digit point lead for first place in the entire NHL. Their loss to Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday was only their sixth in regulation. Their goaltending has been outstanding. Jeremy Swayman is expected to get the call. He is 17th in the league in SV% at .916. Impressive for a backup, since his tandem mate, Linus Ullmark is first at .937. It is expected he will face long-time AHLer, 30-year-old, Alex Lyon. The Florida Panthers have seen injuries in goal, and this will be Lyon’s fourth start of the season. The Panthers have been trying to turn the tide as of late, but the goaltending has been difficult for their high-powered offence to overcome. Off-season acquisition, Matthew Tkachuk, leads the club in points (62) and PIM (74). Look for the Bruins to bounce back after the loss to the Lightning.

Prediction: Bruins win 3-1.

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San Jose Sharks vs Pittsburgh Penguins

Head to Head: Sharks 0-0 Penguins (scheduled to meet Feb 14 also)

Like other games discussed in today’s NHL predictions, this one is a tale of teams with differing objectives. The Pittsburgh Penguins are in a fight for the post-season. The race is getting tight with the Buffalo Sabres being hot, and their stellar road record. They lost a crucial shootout to the Washington Capitals on Thursday night, so would really like to come away with the full two points. Lately, Sidney Crosby has been hot with nine points in the previous five games. On the other hand, the San Jose Sharks are looking forward to the draft and bolstering their prospect stockpile. Some of their stars have been the target of recent trade rumours, including sniper Timo Meier. In the game, look for the Penguins to play a defensively disciplined game, and come away with the two points.

Prediction: Penguins win 3-2.

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Winnipeg Jets vs Philadelphia Flyers

Head to Head: Jets 1-0 Flyers

After an 11th place finish in 2021-22, Blake Wheeler losing his captaincy, things looked like they were in turmoil in the Manitoban capital. However, it turns out it was a change of the guard. Josh Morrissey has already smashed his career-high of 37 points. He’s a point-a-game player thus far. The same goes for Pierre-Luc Dubois on pace for over a point-a-game, as previously he twice hit 60 points. Furthermore, the Winnipeg Jets have a dynamite penalty kill at 83.6% and Connor Hellebuyck, who is expected to start, is having a big season.

The Philadelphia Flyers, are left feeling stuck being in the ultra-competitive Eastern Conference. They are eight points out of a playoff position, and not looking to be buyers come the trade deadline. They are not sellers necessarily, because there is some belief in the group. Sean Couturier’s injury has hurt them this season, and Carter Hart has been mediocre at best. In what could be a Team Canada, Team USA goaltender showdown in another world, look for the Jets to be too strong on home ice.

Prediction: Jets win 5-1.

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Los Angeles Kings vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Head to Head: Kings 0-0 Lightning

The Los Angeles Kings have been outscored 170 to 163 on the season Despite that, they are sitting reasonably comfortably in the third playoff position of the Pacific division. They have a good mix of youth and veterans, and their goaltending has been acceptable. Given this is the second night of playing on Friday, Jonathan Quick gets the start. The Tampa Bay Lightning offence should be able to take advantage of Quick’s disappointing .884 SV% and only eight wins in 26 games played. The Lightning offence continues to be sparked by their superstars. Most notably, Steven Stamkos recorded his 500th career NHL goal on January 18th. He is on a heater, and over a ten-game point streak, he has seven goals and seven assists.

Prediction: Lightning win 7-2.

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