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NHL Predictions: February 21st with Toronto Maple Leafs vs Buffalo Sabres

NHL Predictions

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 Toronto Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres. Be sure to check out our other NHL Predictions for Tuesday.

NHL Predictions

Anaheim Ducks vs Tampa Bay Lightning

Head-to-Head: Ducks 0-1 Lightning

The Anaheim Ducks are coming off a 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers after a 2-0 lead. Lukas Dostal will likely be the starter with John Gibson starting on Monday afternoon. Anaheim has given up at least four goals in the last five games and is closing in on a -100 goal differential. Trevor Zegras leads the team in goals with 19 while Troy Terry has 29 assists.

Andrei Vasilevskiy will probably draw the start for Tampa, but always check social media for who gets the start. The Tampa Bay Lightning have lost two straight games. Brayden Point has 32 goals and Nikita Kucherov is tops in assists with 58. The Lightning have the fourth-best power play in the league and the eighth-best goals scored.

Anaheim may feel deflated after the loss and Tampa Bay will want to get things right.

Predictions: Lightning win 5-1.

Detroit Red Wings vs Washington Capitals

Head-to-Head: Red Wings 1-1 Capitals

It’s the rubber match between theDetroit Red Wings and Washington Capitals as both have won once already. Ville Husso is the projected starter in goal for the Red Wings. Detroit lost the last time out against the Seattle Kraken. The Red Wings are two points behind the Capitals in the standings.

Alex Ovechkin will likely not be with the team after the passing of his father last week. Washington has lost all three games that Ovechkin has been missing from the lineup. Darcy Kuemper is pencilled in as the current starter for the Capitals. The teams are similar in a lot of categories like goals for, goals allowed and penalty minutes.

The Caps miss Ovechkin and hope he can return soon.

Prediction: Red Wings win 3-2.

Montreal Canadiens vs New Jersey Devils

Head-to-Head: Canadiens 0-1 Devils

The Montreal Canadiens have lost two straight games heading into this matchup with the New Jersey Devils. Samuel Montembeault is the confirmed starter in goal for the Habs. Montreal is doing the best it can with lots of injuries. The Canadiens are 27th in goals against and 29th in goals for. Special teams are also a struggle for the Canadiens.

Mackenzie Blackwood is the currently listed starter in goal for the Devils. New Jersey has won three of its last five and looks better since Jack Hughes returned to the lineup. The Devils have only surrendered two goals apiece in those victories. New Jersey’s defence is fourth in goals allowed and the offence is sixth in goals scored.

Montreal does have plenty of promise but are the walking wounded.

Prediction: Devils win 4-1.

St Louis Blues vs Carolina Hurricanes

Head-to-Head: Blues 0-1 Hurricanes

The St Louis Blues look to stop their own two-game losing skid when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes. St. Louis looks like a different team after trading away Ryan O’Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko over the last few weeks. Thomas Greiss was lit up for seven goals in the last outing against Ottawa. Jordan Binnington should get the start in goal for a struggling Blues defence.

Carolina is coming off a big win over Washington in its long-delayed outdoor hockey game. Frederik Andersen is currently listed as the starter in goal for the Hurricanes. It’s been a solid stretch with Carolina winning four of its last five games. The Canes’ defence is stingy with it being the second-best in goals allowed.

The Blues are struggling to find an identity after the deals while the Canes look the part of a contender.

Prediction: Hurricanes win 5-2.

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Buffalo Sabres

Head-to-Head: Maple Leafs 1-0 Sabres

Our featured matchup of NHL predictions is a battle of the QEW between the Leafs and Sabres. Toronto is coming off a puzzling loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. The Leafs have this odd habit of playing down to their competition. Ilya Samsonov is currently projected to be the starter in between the pipes for the Leafs. Toronto does have the sixth-best goals for and the seventh-best goals allowed. The Leafs power play is also very potent at 25.4 percent.

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen is the projected starter for the Sabres. Buffalo has scored 11 goals in the last two games as part of the fourth-best scoring offence. The Sabres have the sixth-best power play, but the defence has been an issue. Buffalo is 21st in goals allowed and 29th on the penalty kill. Tage Thompson leads the team in goals with 36 goals and Rasmus Dahlin has 45 assists. Buffalo is three points from the final Eastern Wild Card spot.

The Leafs have found a way to bounce back after bad performances against inferior opponents. Buffalo is a much better opponent, but Toronto is motivated.

Prediction: Maple Leafs win 4-3.

 Main photo by: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports


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