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 Seattle Kraken vs Dallas Stars. Keep checking our NHL predictions throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
New Jersey Devils vs Carolina Hurricanes
Series: Devils 1-3 Hurricanes
Our first game of NHL predictions has the New Jersey Devils trying to extend their season. The Devils were blown out, 6-1, in Game 4 by the Carolina Hurricanes. Both Akira Schmid and Vitek Vanecek have struggled in goal against the sustained pressure of Carolina. Vanecek is listed as the projected starter, but that could change at any time. Keep an eye on social media throughout the day. New Jersey did win a Game 7 against the New York Rangers in the team’s only elimination game of the post-season. However, the Hurricanes are a completely different animal. Game 3 showed the Devils have the potential to win. However, the Canes have three chances to close the series.
Frederik Andersen is the likely starter for a Carolina team that blitzed New Jersey. Jordan Martinook recorded four points and helped the Canes’ offence power past the Devils. Many thought Carolina would be in trouble due to the number of injuries to the team’s scoring forwards. However, it seems like another unlikely person steps up each time to give Carolina what it needs. The Canes 200-foot game also allows them a chance to win games.
Carolina did struggle putting away the New York Islanders in the opening round. However, it did get the job done and will here.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 4-2.
Seattle Kraken vs Dallas Stars
Series: Kraken 2-2 Stars
Our final and featured game of NHL predictions has a pivotal Game 5. Seattle has hung with Dallas and made it a tighter series than many expected. However, Game 4 saw the Stars finally get their offence going. Philipp Grubauer was pulled in the game for Martin Jones, but it’s expected to see the German get the Game 5 start. Jared McCann did return to the lineup, but Dallas looked like the better team. Seattle has bounced back from adversity before during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Be wary of putting the Kraken away because the team has rallied plenty of times in the post-season.
Jake Oettinger will once again get the start for the Stars in between the pipes. Miro Heiskanen returned to the Dallas lineup after missing Game 3 with a facial injury. The Finnish defenceman helped the Stars unlock the Kraken defence and was a key to the series-tying victory. Joe Pavelski has continued his scoring touch with six goals in four games this series. This has been an up-and-down series, but Dallas has plenty of playoff experience.
This series has been tough to read, but the Stars did take Game 5 in the opening round at home. That win over the Minnesota Wild helped them get control and this should play out like round one.
Prediction: Stars win 4-3.
Main photo by: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports