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 Minnesota Wild vs Colorado Avalanche. Be sure to check out our NHL predictions in the coming days.
Florida Panthers vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Head-to-Head: Panthers 0-2 Maple Leafs
Our first game of NHL predictions has the Florida Panthers fighting for their playoff lives against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sergei Bobrovsky is the expected starter for Florida, but always check online before setting your fantasy lineup. The Panthers have picked the wrong time to lose four in a row as they’re sinking out of the wild card race in the East. A win over the Leafs would be huge, but they’ve given up at least five goals in the first two games of the season. Florida can scored goals with the fourth-best offence, but will need to stop them somehow.
Ilya Samsonov is the projected starter for a Leafs team that sealed a playoff berth Monday night. Toronto is trying to get that monkey off its back of getting out of the first round for the first time since 2004. However, head coach Sheldon Keefe is trying to tinker and find the right combination. The Leafs have won three of their last five games and pretty much have a date with the Tampa Bay Lightning in round one. The key is to avoid injury and come in strong.
Toronto knows Florida has to win, but has the better defence.
Prediction: Leafs win 5-3.
New York Islanders vs Washington Capitals
Head-to-Head: Islanders 1-1 Capitals
It’s a Metropolitan Division matchup in this one as the New York Islanders look inch closer to clinching a Stanley Cup Playoff spot. Ilya Sorokin is likely to draw the start for the Long Islanders. New York give itself a big boost with a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils the last time out. The Islanders have won three of their last five games to solidify their hold on the top wild card spot in the East. This is big because they’ll likely avoid the Boston Bruins in the first round.
It’s desperation time for the Washington Capitals, who risk missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2013-14 season. Darcy Kuemper will look to keep Washington alive in the playoff race, but it will need to start winning games quickly. The Capitals have lost four of the last five, including a crushing setback to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night. Missing the post-season could lead to a slate of questions surrounding the team.
The Islanders are sound on defence and could pose a problem to the Carolina Hurricanes in round one.
Prediction: Islanders win 3-1.
Minnesota Wild vs Colorado Avalanche
Head-to-Head: Wild 0-2 Avalanche
Our featured and final game of NHL predictions has Central Division implications. One would think the Wild would have been in trouble without Kirill Kaprizov injured. However, in steps Matthew Boldy and the Wild are riding him to a possible division title. Boldy has nine goals in his last five games to give Minnesota a one-point lead over Colorado. Filip Gustavsson is the projected starter for the Wild, who have won four of its last five.
Colorado will counter with Alexandar Georgiev in all likelihood. The Avs have surged up the standings after injuries derailed their first half. Colorado has also won four of its last five and defence has been the key. The Avalanche offence gets all the headlines, but they’ve only given up one goal in each of their last three wins. Colorado could be more than worthy of mounting a strong challenge to defend it Stanley Cup crown.
This is going to be a good, but Colorado gets the narrow win. Prop bettors should consider putting action on Boldy scoring again.
Prediction: Avalanche win 3-2.
Main photo by: Matt Blewett-USA