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NHL Predictions: April 17th with Florida Panthers vs Boston Bruins

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 Florida Panthers vs Boston. This is our first edition of NHL predictions for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

NHL Predictions

New York Islanders at Carolina Hurricanes

Series: Islanders 0-0 Hurricanes

This is the opening game of the playoff edition of NHL Predictions. It’s the first game of the Eastern Conference first round series between the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes. Ilya Sorokin is the likely starter in goal for the Isles, who came in winning three of their last five games. New York has one of the better defences in the league and Carolina has struggled to score without Andrei Svechnikov. Sorokin has the tools to help the Islanders steal a game in Raleigh.

Carolina will seemingly go with a goalie by committee between Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta. The Hurricanes come into the post-season with a two-game winning streak. Carolina can also play strong defence as well, so look for a low-scoring affair between the two teams.

Getting the first goal will be critical, but Carolina finds a way to get Game 1.

Prediction: Hurricanes win 3-1.

Florida Panthers at Boston Bruins

Series: Panthers 0-0 Bruins

Our featured game in tonight’s NHL predictions has the Panthers trying to knock off the best regular season club in league history by the numbers. However, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are a whole other animal. Florida may go with Alex Lyon in goal due to his red-hot play down the stretch. Sergei Bobrovsky does have post-season experience, but has been inconsistent at times for the Panthers. Florida can score goals, but has had trouble stopping them.

Boston has Linus Ullmark as the projected starter. However, the Bruins might be dealing with a round of illness going around the team. Boston set records for most points and most wins, but sickness and the playoffs could be the great equalizer. However, Boston has found ways to win despite a number of lineup changes. This team finds ways to win despite injuries or whatever else is thrown at them.

It’s also Patriot’s Day and that could give the B’s a big emotional lift. Boston gets it done in a tighter-than-expected game.

Prediction: Bruins win 4-2.

Minnesota Wild at Dallas Stars

Series: Wild 0-0 Stars

The Minnesota Wild and Dallas square off in a battle of Central Division clubs. Minnesota might roll with Filip Gustavsson, but Marc-Andre Fleury has loads of playoff experience. Kirill Kaprizov is hoping to playing like his old self again after his injury. Matthew Boldy did a lot of the scoring during the Russian’s absence, but will need others to step up and help.

Dallas goes with Jake Oettinger in goal, who also stole last year’s first round series against the Calgary Flames. The Stars just missed out on the division crown by one point and really poured it on in the last month of the season. Jason Robertson didn’t experience a sophomore jinx with him getting 109 points. Joe Pavelski has also been solid in the second half.

Dallas finds different ways to win games and will do the same.

Prediction: Stars win 4-2.

Los Angeles Kings at Edmonton Oilers

Series: Kings 0-0 Oilers

Our last game of NHL predictions has the Los Angeles Kings trying to take down the Edmonton Oilers. Joonas Korpisalo is slated to be the starter as the Kings face a tall task. It’s a rematch of last year’s first round series, but the Oilers seem ready to make a run. LA did wrap up the regular season with a two-game winning streak.

Rookie Stuart Skinner gets the start for the Oilers, who ended the regular season with nine straight victories. Connor McDavid put up Hart Trophy numbers and Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each crossed the 100-point threshold. Edmonton was firing on all cylinders when the regular season ended.

Offence may not be the way to win post-season games, but the Oilers were playing a 100-foot game at the end of the season.

Prediction: Oilers win 5-2.

Main photo by: Jason Mowry-USA TODAY Sports

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