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 Buffalo Sabres and the New York Islanders. Be sure to check out our NHL predictions for today.
Winnipeg Jets vs Los Angeles Kings
Head-to-Head: Jets 1-1 Kings
Our opening game of NHL predictions is a Western Conference matchup with some Stanley Cup Playoff implications. The Winnipeg Jets are just one point off the top wild card spot in the West. Connor Hellebuyck likely gets the start, but always check social media before locking in your starter. Winnipeg has won three of its last five games to solidify its playoff spot.
Joonas Korpisalo is the projected starter in goal for the Los Angeles Kings, who have also won three of the last five. The Kings are four points off the Pacific Division lead, but seem to be locked into the second spot in the division. Los Angeles is coming off its break and should be rested going into this one.
The over on the six should be reachable as the winning team scored six by themselves. Take the Kings in this one.
Prediction: Kings win 5-3.
San Jose Sharks vs Calgary Flames
Head-to-Head: Sharks 0-2 Flames
It’s another early Pacific Division game has the San Jose Sharks looking to avoid the season sweep against the Calgary Flames. San Jose has lost eight straight and is tied for the least amount of points in the league. Erik Karlsson continues to have a great season despite the club around him struggling. Kaapo Kahkonen is the confirmed starter for the Sharks, who have been leaking goals.
Jacob Markstrom is the projected starter for the Flames, who sit six points back of the second wild card spot in the west. The Flames have lost three of their last five and consistency issues continue to plague them. Calgary has scored 12 goals in the two games with San Jose.
The Flames need wins and should get that at home.
Prediction: Flames win 5-2.
Chicago Blackhawks vs Minnesota Wild
Head-to-Head: Blackhawks 0-2 Wild
A Central Division rivalry is next up in our NHL Predictions as the Minnesota Wild host the Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago will go with Alex Stalock in goal, who has shown some flashes in the second half of the season. The Hawks have lost three straight games and goal-scoring has dried up for them. Chicago is last in goals scored in the NHL.
Filip Gustavsson is the definite starter for the Wild, who are one point off the Central Division lead. Minnesota has won three of its last five, but is coming off a surprising 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Wild boast the third-best scoring defence in the league and that’s how the team has gotten it down. Minnesota’s surge is even more impressive without having Kirill Kaprizov in the lineup.
Minnesota keeps finding ways to win and should stifle Chicago.
Prediction: Wild win 3-1.
New York Rangers vs Florida Panthers
Head-to-Head: Rangers 2-0 Panthers
The New York Rangers travel to Sunrise to take on the Florida Panthers. Igor Shesterkin is the projected starter and could face Russian counterpart Sergei Bobrovsky in the opposite goal. The Blueshirts have won four of its last five games and held off the Carolina Hurricanes last time out. Mika Zibanejad is continuing his red-hot March form that he has every year. Patrick Kane is starting to gel with his new team.
Florida is on a two-game losing streak and needs wins to catch up in the East. The Panthers are one point off the second wild card spot and three points away from the top wild card spot. Goal-scoring hasn’t been a problem in recent games for the Cats.
New York has found a way to score just enough goals to beat Florida twice. The over/under of 6.5 is reachable.
Prediction: Rangers win 5-3.
Buffalo Sabres vs New York Islanders
Head-to-Head: Sabres 1-1 Islanders
Our final and featured game of NHL predictions has the Sabres trying to stay alive in the wild card race. Buffalo is six points behind the second wild card spot, but only have 11 games left to play. However, the Sabres did pick up a key victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday night. The ageless Craig Anderson is likely to get the call in goal for the Sabres. Buffalo has scored the third-most goals in the league has the fifth-best power play in the league. Defence and the penalty kill have let down the Sabres, but this is still a young team.
Semyon Varlamov should draw the start with Ilya Sorokin starting on Friday night. The Islanders has their three game winning streak snapped against the Columbus Blue Jackets. New York has played better in the second half, but the team is 21st in goals scored. The Islanders defence is one of the best in the league as they’re eighth in goals scored.
This is a tough game for both teams, but the Isles scratch out the victory.
Prediction: Islanders win 4-3 in overtime.
Main photo by: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports