NHL Predictions: March 25 including Toronto Maple Leafs vs Carolina Hurricanes

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 the Toronto Maple Leafs vs Carolina Hurricanes. Be sure to check out our other NHL Predictions for the day.

NHL Predictions

Vancouver Canucks vs Dallas Stars

Head-to-Head: Canucks 2-0 Stars

Both Vancouver and Dallas enter the night off of Thursday night wins at home, with the Canucks making the travel for the final matchup between these Western Conference opponents. Vancouver has won the previous two matchups this season, scoring five goals in each victory. Despite the tumultuous season, the Canucks have endured, the month of March has been fairly successful for the squad, with eight wins in their last ten riding powerful play from Elias Pettersson and Andrei Kuzmenko, with the former contending for triple digits in points, while Kuzmenko looks to hit the 40 goal mark in his rookie season.

Barring an epic collapse, the Stars should make the postseason without extreme difficulty. For the team, the Central division title is in grasp as the total regular season goal with 10 games to play; currently, the Stars sit just one point on their throne in the division ahead of the Minnesota Wild. High-end talent for the Stars is not limited; between their top line, top defenceman, and goaltender, among resurgences seen in players such as Jamie Benn, the firepower for the team is foundational for the strong season the team has posted. In recent stretches, the epicentre of the Stars defence in Miro Heiskanen has posted his best season to date by both production and impact, solidifying himself as one of the NHL’s top defensemen.

We predict the Stars collect their 40th win of the season, taking advantage of a weaker schedule as good teams should generally do.

Prediction: 4-2 Stars

Columbus Blue Jackets vs Montreal Canadiens

Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 1-1 Canadiens

Excitement exists in spades for each of these squads despite their disastrous nature each.  Kent Johnson topped an impressive rookie campaign with an unreal goal last night, which included a between-the-legs deke followed by a Michigan goal. Not only did Johnson play in Michigan, but the goal also came on the anniversary of Mike Legg’s original goal with the move. Other strong performances on an otherwise dysfunctional Blue Jackets team include Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine (who will now likely miss the remainder of the season) as the one-two punch that can create offensive chaos.

Meanwhile, Montreal has largely ridden on the back of Nick SuzukiKirby Dach, and Mike Matheson as the injury list for the team expands massively seemingly every night. This was particularly on display in Montreal’s most recent game, a Thursday road game in Boston, where they appeared to give the Bruins some struggles primarily in the second period, perhaps on a momentum boost after Mike Hoffman was sent to the locker room due to a crosscheck to the face from Boston’s A.J. Greer.

While a lower-end matchup, specific elements of each squad may boost the excitement level of a game with zero implications on any significant NHL development; describing games such as these as a display of youthful skill may be most accurate.

Prediction 5-4 Canadiens

Ottawa Senators vs New Jersey Devils

Head-to-Head: Senators 0-2 Devils

Both teams enter the night off of especially abnormal losses in their most recent games each. Ottawa, despite stumbling off the shore of the playoff race with little ability to return, defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-2 on Thursday night, while the Devils are coming off a 5-4 loss to the Sabres last night in Buffalo, in which they at one point trailed 5-2. Aside from any general poor play from the Senators overall, the top line of Brady TkachukTim Stützle, and Claude Giroux has only shined, with an expected goals for percentage of 60.9 percent this season when playing together, ranking 18th in the entire league for lines that have played a minimum of 200 minutes together at 5v5 (MoneyPuck).

New Jersey, with their loss last night to the Sabres, now lay two points behind the Hurricanes (who also play tonight) for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division, with two games extra and 10 total remaining. New Jersey defeating Ottawa in any fashion tonight (or even collecting a single point in specific scenarios) would clinch their first playoff birth since 2018 and second since the 2012 cup run.

Tonight’s game should provide no shortage of dynamic offence play from at least the top six cores of each team.  New Jersey is clearly the strong team in this tilt, but their fatigue from another back-to-back set may give them some problems in a game that could be close regardless.

Prediction: 5-4 Senators (OT)

Toronto Maple Leafs vs Carolina Hurricanes

Head-to-Head: Maple Leafs 2-0 Hurricanes

Tonight’s featured game in NHL predicitons is the final one between these Eastern Conference opponents.  The Maple Leafs in Raleigh, North Carolina to face the Carolina Hurricanes. In terms of recent performances, both teams have won six of their last 10 games. Despite losing to the Rangers on Thursday, Carolina became the second team in the NHL to clinch a postseason position, with 12 games remaining. Meanwhile, Toronto brushed off a 7-2 loss to the Islanders with a 6-2 win of their own against a desperate Florida Panthers team, now five points ahead of third-place Tampa for the home ice in the first round with 11 games remaining.

Toronto and its dynamic offensive strategy, which is especially attuned to attacking play on the rush, will directly test Carolina’s neutral-zone and defensive structures.  Between Mitch MarnerAuston Matthews, and William Nylander, the Leafs pose an abundance of talent that effectively push the play up ice and finish at efficient rates. Breakouts and rushes featuring one of these three players (or active defenders like Morgan Rielly) being pitted directly against the checking line of Jordan Martinook (or Stefan Noesen), Jordan Staal, and Jesper Fast and the first pair of Jaccob Slavin and Brent Burns have the potential of becoming commonplace within this game.

Regardless, this game should be nothing short of an excellent, high-tier game between two of the NHL’s best in the league. As both teams are playing for ideal playoff positions, the atmosphere of this game could resemble that of a playoff matchup.  This one could very well bear overtime.  

Prediction: 3-2 Maple Leafs (OT)

Main photo by: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports