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 Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Be sure to check out our other NHL Predictions for Saturday.
Columbus Blue Jackets vs Dallas Stars
Head-to-Head: Blue Jackets 0-1 Stars
Our first game of NHL Predictions features two teams that are on opposite ends of the league. The Columbus Blue Jackets did beat the Winnipeg Jets, 3-1, the last time out. However, the Jackets have lost three of their last five games. Joonas Korpisalo is slated to get the start with Columbus starting back-to-back games. However, check online before deciding on your fantasy hockey lineup.
The Dallas Stars won the first meeting of the season, 2-1, on Dec. 19. Scott Wedgewood will likely get the start for the Stars, who are on the backend of back-to-back games. Dallas is actually on a three-game losing streak after a shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild. The Stars’ offence has struggled a bit after returning from the All-Star Break.
Dallas should be in a bad mood and should get healthy against Columbus.
Prediction: Stars win 4-1.
Montreal Canadiens vs Toronto Maple Leafs
Head-to-Head: Canadiens 2-0 Maple Leafs
Our featured game just got a lot more tasty as of 11 p.m. Eastern Time Friday night. The Habs actually won the first two games of the season over their archrivals. Jake Allen will likely get the call in between the pipes for the Canadiens. Montreal is 27th in goals for and 28th in goals against, but the future does look good with all their young talent. Players like Cole Caufield, Juraj Slafkovsky and others may be out, but the blocks for a strong future are there.
The Leafs made a splash by acquiring Ryan O’Reilly in a blockbuster trade with the St. Louis Blues and the Wild. It’s not known if O’Reilly or Noel Acciari will be in the lineup for Toronto. Keep an eye on social media to see if one or both will be ready for Toronto. The Leafs have won three of their last five games. There may be some adjustment period in the lineup, but the recent additions give Toronto hope of finally escaping the first round. Ilya Samsonov is the probable starter in goal for the Leafs.
Rivalry games are always tough to gauge, but Toronto seems a little annoyed that upstart Montreal has beaten them twice.
Prediction: Maple Leafs win 3-2.
Washington Capitals vs Carolina Hurricanes
Head-to-Head: Capitals 0-2 Hurricanes
The last game of our NHL Predictions is the Stadium Series matchup between the Washington Capitals and the Carolina Hurricanes. This game will be played at Carter-Finley Stadium, which is the home of the N.C. State football team. Washington comes in with losses in three straight games. Alex Ovechkin won’t be in the lineup after the passing of his father earlier in the week. The Caps will have to find some way to replace his offence. Darcy Kuemper should get the start in goal for Washington.
Carolina has victories in four of its last five games. Frederik Andersen is the probable starter in goal for the Hurricanes. Defence has been the name of the Canes’ game the last few games. They’ve only given up two or fewer goals in their last three games. Sebastian Aho leads the team in goals with 24 while Brent Burns has the team lead in assists with 29.
Conditions in outdoor games often make things hard to tell. However, Carolina should win as Washington won’t have Ovechkin.
Prediction: Hurricanes win 4-1.
Main photo by: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
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