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 Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Los Angeles Kings vs New York Rangers
Head-to-Head: Kings 0-1 Rangers
To start the NHL predictions for the night, the New York Rangers play host to the Los Angeles Kings. New York are coming off a 6-3 loss to the Washington Capitals last night. The Rangers starting goaltender Igor Shesterkin got the hook after allowing five goals on 22 shots in the contest. Backup Jaroslav Halak is expected to get the start in a rematch of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.
The Kings sit two points behind the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division. The Kings are 6-2-2 in their last ten and have a 16-10-6 on the road this season. The Rangers have a 16-10-4 record at Madison Square Garden this season. However, the Blueshirts enter the contest looking to end a four-game losing streak.
Kevin Fiala has been an offensive dynamo for the Kings in his first season with the club, leading the team with 21 goals and 42 assists for 63 points. However, the Rangers’ newest trade acquisition Vladimir Tarasenko is still looking to find his stride with his new club, as he has just two goals and two assists in eight games with New York. Expect a well-rested Kings team to hand the Rangers another loss and extend their losing streak to five.
Prediction: Kings win 5-3
Toronto Maple Leafs vs Seattle Kraken
Head-to-Head: Maple Leafs 0-1 Kraken
The Toronto Maple Leafs begin a west coast trip with a meeting with the Seattle Kraken. The two teams met in early January, with the Kraken picking up a 5-1 victory. Toronto has won two straight and has a 6-4-0 record over their last ten. The Kraken continues to battle in an ultra-tight Pacific Division, currently in fourth place in the divisional standings. Seattle is coming off a wild 6-5 loss against the Maple Leafs’ rivals, Boston Bruins.
Ryan O’Reilly has three goals and two assists in four games since being acquired by the Maple Leafs. Mitch Marner and William Nylander lead the Leafs’ offence this season with 71 and 70 points, respectively. Jordan Eberle leads a well-balanced Kraken attack with 13 goals and 33 assists for 46 points in 58 games. The NHL predictions for this game is that Toronto to hand Seattle their third consecutive loss in this one.
Prediction: Maple Leafs win 4-2
Nashville Predators vs Arizona Coyotes
Head-to-Head: Predators 1-1 Coyotes
The Nashville Predators travel to the desert to take on the Arizona Coyotes. The Predators made some noise yesterday, shipping Nino Niedierreiter to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a second-round draft pick. The move signals that the Predators will be sellers as we close in on this year’s trade deadline. They currently sit eight points out of the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
On the other side of the ice, the Arizona Coyotes are amongst a handful of teams vying for the Connor Bedard draft lottery sweepstakes. Although the Coyotes have picked up at least one point in nine of their last ten with a 5-1-4 record, they still sit near the bottom of the NHL standings with 49 points. Connor Ingram is confirmed to start for the Coyotes, while Jusse Saros is expected to get the nod for Nashville. For this NHL predictions game, Arizona will take the win.
Prediction: Arizona wins 3-2 (OT)
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Pittsburgh Penguins
Head-to-Head: Lightning 0-1 Penguins
In the feature game of the NHL predictions, the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both teams are playing on the back side of a back-to-back. The Lightning secured a 3-0 win over the Detroit Red Wings, while Pittsburgh picked up a 3-2 overtime win over the St Louis Blues on Saturday. Tonight marks the season’s second meeting between the two Eastern Conference foes. The Penguins picked up a 6-2 win in the first contest.
Tampa Bay will likely turn to backup Brian Elliot following starter Andrei Vasilevskiy‘s 45-save shutout last night. Casey DeSmith is expected to start for the Penguins in the other net. Brayden Point continued his hot streak notching his 35th goal of the season against the Red Wings. Nikita Kucherov added a goal and an assist taking his team-leading point total to 83. Captain Sidney Crosby leads the Penguins with 25 goals and 44 assists for 69 points in 58 games. Look for the Lightning to strike often as they deliver the Penguins another hit to their playoff ambitions.
Prediction: Lightning win 5-1
Main photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports