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 Washington Capitals and the Buffalo Sabres. Be sure to check out our NHL Predictions for Sunday.
Washington Capitals vs Buffalo Sabres
Head-to-Head: Capitals 0-1 Sabres
Our featured game of NHL Predictions has the Capitals coming off a 6-3 win over the New York Rangers. Charlie Lindgren should get the start because Darcy Kuemper started on Saturday. The Capitals may have made a couple of moves, but they are still within touching distance of the playoffs. However, they’ll have to get moving if they want to catch teams like the Sabres. Alex Ovechkin‘s return to the lineup may give Washington some hope, but the March 3 trade deadline looms.
Craig Anderson is likely to start for Buffalo after one of his best performances in quite some time. He became the oldest goalie to get 50 saves in their win against the Florida Panthers. Buffalo has won four of its last five games and holds the last wild card spot in the East. Tage Thompson is one goal away from reaching the 40-goal mark and Rasmus Dahlin is playing like a top pick. The Sabres beat the Capitals, 5-4, in overtime in early January.
The Caps are fighting to stay in the playoffs, but the Sabres seem to be motivated.
Prediction: Sabres win 4-2.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Minnesota Wild
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 0-1 Wild
The second game of NHL predictions has the Columbus Blue Jackets against the Minnesota Wild. Minnesota blanked Columbus, 2-0, in the first meeting of the season. Elvis Merzlikins should get the call in net because Joonas Korpisalo played the day before. Columbus is coming off a wild, 6-5, win over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. The Jackets have won three victories in their last five games.
The Wild will likely go with Filip Gustavsson in goal for this matchup. However, always check social media before setting your daily fantasy lineup. Minnesota had its recent winning streak thanks to the Toronto Maple Leafs and William Nylander‘s overtime winner. The Wild currently hold the third and last automatic playoff spot in the Western Conference. However, the Colorado Avalanche are gaining on their rivals.
Columbus is playing better, but the Wild are usually smarter on the defensive end.
Prediction: Wild win 3-2.
New York Islanders vs Winnipeg Jets
Head-to-Head: Islanders 1-0 Jets
Our final game of the first set of NHL predictions has the New York Islanders visiting the Winnipeg Jets. The Islanders are emerging as a playoff team since the Bo Horvat trade. Ilya Sorokin will likely get the call in net for New York, which has wins in three of its last five. The Isles did beat the Jets, 2-1, in the first meeting of the season between the two clubs.
Connor Hellebuyck will get the nod in net in all likelihood. Winnipeg is struggling with losses in four of the last five games. Offence has been the problem for the Jets, as has only scored a single goal in three of those defeats. Winnipeg’s defence is great, but it’s going to need scoring help if it wants to be a contender. They did make a deal to bolster their scoring.
The Islanders are 4-0 against the Jets in the last four seasons, but all trends come to an end. Winnipeg gets off the snide in a low-scoring affair. The over/under of 5.5 could be a tantalizing play.
Prediction: Jets win 3-2.