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 Ottawa Senators and the Chicago Blackhawks.
NHL Predictions: Ottawa Senators vs Chicago Blackhawks
Ottawa Senators vs Chicago Blackhawks
Head to Head: Senators 0-1 (OTW) Blackhawks
In the featured matchup of our nhl predictions, we look at two teams trending in opposite directions. This is both from a recent performance perspective, but also, in terms of the state of their organizations. First of all, the Chicago Blackhawks are currently in the process of gutting their team. Ahead of the trade deadline, they moved Patrick Kane, Max Domi, and sent a pair of players to the Toronto Maple Leafs (Sam Lafferty and Jake McCabe). In addition, Chicago is 32nd in the league in GF at 2.44. They have struggled to score goals this year, and with those recent moves, Chicago is just looking forward to the off-season. They want to kick-start their rebuild, and what better way to do that, than land a top pick in the draft, perhaps Connor Bedard or Adam Fantilli?
The Ottawa Senators, are coming into this game on a high. They can even thank the Blackhawks for that, as they made some of their roster moves possible. In acquiring Nikita Zaitsev, the Blackhawks allowed Pierre Dorion and the Sens to free up some cap space. The Senators took full advantage, receiving one of the most highly-touted defencemen on the market, Jakob Chychrun, from the Arizona Coyotes. Furthermore, the Senators are red hot going 7-2-1 over their last 10 games. One reason for that is their sixth-ranked power play humming along at 24.9%. Moreover, two players have been hot recently, including Claude Giroux and Tim Stutzle. For Giroux, since the last matchup with Chicago, a 4-3 OTL, on February 17th, he has five goals and eight assists in 9 games. Meanwhile, Stutzle has goals in four straight (five goals, and two assists over that span).
Prediction: Senators defeat Blackhawks 5-1.
Nashville Predators vs Vancouver Canucks
Head to Head: Predators 2-0 Canucks (both shootout victories)
Our next game on our nhl predictions is a central division showdown. The Nashville Predators, need to win these games against teams not in the playoff hunt. They are still fighting for their proverbial playoff lives, as they sit third in the Western Conference Wild Card standings. At present, they fall behind the Edmonton Oilers and the Colorado Avalanche in the standings. They have always proven to be a formidable opponent to the Vancouver Canucks, even back when they first started in the NHL. They have a total regular season record of 35-39-2-6 against the Canucks. Finally, even though they were not buyers at the trade deadline, they were not considered to be sellers by any stretch of the imagination. Even though moving names like Tanner Jeannot and Mattias Ekholm, who would have been super helpful come playoff time, might make you consider them sellers. In contrast, one of their additions scored the GWG on Saturday vs the Blackhawks, Tyson Barrie.
The Vancouver Canucks sure did shake things up and look to play this game against Nashville how they look to finish up the rest of 2022-23. They want to see what they have in the parts they acquired at the deadline. Gone are Luke Schenn, Curtis Lazar, and earlier Bo Horvat. Conversely, their additions include Vitaly Kravtsov, Anthony Beauvillier, and Filip Hronek. This should be a good test for the Canucks lineup against the grinding Predators. Nashville is the tighter team defensively, and look for them to take advantage.
Prediction: Predators defeat Canucks 4-2.
Washington Capitals vs Los Angeles Kings
Head to Head: Capitals 1-0 Kings
This next game on our nhl predictions will have a playoff feel to it. The Washington Capitals, like the Los Angeles Kings, did have some trade deadline activity. It is tough to say where the Capitals stand. Case in point, they gave up a reliable source on the backend in Dmitry Orlov. However, they were able to add a solid piece in Rasmus Sandin from the Toronto Maple Leafs. From the moves made, it seems like for the most part, Washington wants to stay competitive as their superstar, Alex Ovechkin chases history. Currently, they sit sixth in the Wild Card standings and have played more games than most teams. This will be a tough test against a team that sits second in the Pacific Division.
For Los Angeles, the group is trying to come to grips with losing its goaltender of the decade Jonathan Quick. Quick played in 743 games for the Kings, helping them to two Stanley Cups. However, Los Angeles was not pleased with his performance lately and felt they needed to bolster their lineup. Now, they have added defenceman Vladislav Gavrikov and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo to help with the post-season run. Los Angeles is a good mix of youngsters and veterans, although the hope is Quick’s long-time teammates can quickly re-focus after losing their friend from the roster.
The Kings are hot, going 7-2-1 in their last ten. If they can overcome adversity, they might be a threat in the Western Conference. Whereas Washington has been struggling, after going 3-7 in their last ten, they are hoping to turn things around having won two straight. This should be a close game and will come down to goaltending. The Kings Phoenix Copley is expected to go with an amazing 19-4-2 record on the season. Therefore, the Capitals will be in tough, but with the defending Stanley Cup champion, Darcy Kuemper expected, look for them to prevail.
Prediction: Capitals defeat Kings 4-3.
Main Photo: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports