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 the Carolina Hurricanes vs the Toronto Maple Leafs on this St. Patrick’s Day.
Buffalo Sabres vs Philadelphia Flyers
Head-to-Head: Sabres 0 – 1 Flyers
The first game of NHL predictions has the Buffalo Sabres taking on the Philadelphia Flyers. Buffalo will likely start Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen but always check online before making any lineup decisions. The Sabres are struggling at the wrong time as they’ve lost four out of five. Buffalo is trying to end the league’s longest playoff drought, but it needs victories.
The Flyers will probably go with Carter Hart in net. Philadelphia has lost four straight games as it tries to play out the string. Problems are arising at both ends of the ice as they have gave up five goals in three of the losses. When the defence does do well, it’s goal-scoring that lets them down.
Buffalo knows it better get some wins and they’ll get the victory.
Predictions: Sabres win 4-2.
Carolina Hurricanes vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Head-to-Head: Hurricanes 0 – 1 Maple Leafs
Our featured game has the visiting Hurricanes coming to Scotiabank Arena. Frederik Andersen might get a shot at facing his old team as he’s the projected starter. Carolina will have to find a way to score goals without Andrei Svechnikov, who is out for the rest of the season. The Hurricanes have won three of their last five games. Carolina’s offence was shut out twice in a row before waking up against the Winnipeg Jets. The Canes’ second-ranked penalty kill will get tested against the third-rated power play of the Leafs.
Toronto has lost three of its last five games, as it tries to recover from back-to-back losses. Ilya Samsonov is the probable starter, but the Leafs will be playing back-to-back games. The Maple Leafs are eighth in goals scored, but the defence is fourth in goals allowed. Toronto will need William Nylander and Auston Matthews to step up if it wants to get back on track.
The Canes are starting to figure things out without their playmaker and get the win on the road.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 3-2.
St Louis Blues vs Washington Capitals
Head-to-Head: Blues 1 – 0 Capitals
The St Louis Blues will have to do without Jordan Binnington after he was suspended for two games. Thomas Greiss is the likely starter in goal, but Joel Hofer is also on the roster. St Louis has lost three of its last five games and the defence has looked suspect in its losses. The Blues has given up 13 goals in their last two games.
Charlie Lindgren will probably draw the start for the Washington Capitals. Alex Ovechkin returned to the lineup in the victory over the Sabres. Washington has lost three of its last five games as it tries to stay in the post-season race.
The Blues defensive struggles will show again versus a good-scoring Capitals game.
Prediction: Capitals win 5-2.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Anaheim Ducks
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 0 – 1 Ducks
Our final game of NHL predictions has the Columbus Blue Jackets taking on the Anaheim Ducks. It’s another installment in the battle for Connor Bedard. The Jackets will probably go with Daniil Tarasov in between the pipes. Columbus stopped its losing skid with a win at the San Jose Sharks. The Blue Jackets have yielded at least five goals in their last four games.
Anaheim has confirmed that Lukas Dostal will be the starter in goal. The Ducks have lost four of their last five games, but have been exciting in stretches. Trevor Zegras continues to make highlight-reel plays for Anaheim. There may be some pain now, but the Ducks show a lot of promise.
Anaheim gets the home victory in an offensive showcase.
Prediction: Ducks win 5-3.
Main photo by: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports