Nashville and Boston both shoot for five in a row. The Rangers try to stay hot at home. Let’s take a look at our NHL daily predictions.
|Predators vs Hurricanes
ML +105 / -125
|Canucks vs Rangers
ML +145 / -175
|Oilers vs Bruins
ML Off / Off
Here are tonight’s starting goaltenders, courtesy of LeftWingLock.
Predators vs Hurricanes: The Nashville Predators earned their fourth consecutive victory Friday night in St. Louis against the Blues. Pekka Rinne and company effectively tamed the hottest line in hockey, shutting down Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko.
Rinne turned aside all 34 shots he faced. The Preds have now won nine of their last 10 to improve to 14-6-2. They now sit third in the Central Division.
P.K. Subban picked up his team-leading 14th assist in the victory over St. Louis. Filip Forsberg also tallied an assist to give him 24 points on the season, first on the team by a good margin.
Tonight, the Predators are away from the comforts of their home building. Even though their total road record is not quite adequate yet at 6-5-1, they have won four of their last five games as the visiting team.
Carolina is the best team in the National Hockey League at Corsi For percentage at 55.9%. Joining them on the top of the pile are, in order, Edmonton, Montreal, San Jose and Columbus.
With the exception of Columbus, those are all middle of the road teams. At least Carolina and San Jose are relatively within reach of a playoff spot. Montreal and Edmonton are fading fast.
It should be noted that in the bottom 10 of PDO, which basically measures puck luck, prominently featured are: Edmonton, Montreal, San Jose and Carolina.
If the Canes are going to stay in the hunt and be the surprise playoff team people thought they were going to be, they are going to have to beat some competitive teams. And they will need to do so on home ice. They are only 4-4-3 on home ice this season, and have suffered back-to-back brutal losses in North Carolina.
On Wednesday night, the Canes got run out of their own building by the New York Rangers. Scott Darling turned in his worst performance of the season, highlighted by a goal from the red line that he completely whiffed on gloving. Then on Friday, Cam Ward let up four goals in the second period and was yanked after only 40 minutes of play. The Canes made it close but lost to the Leafs 5-4.
Carolina has lost six of their last seven to Western Conference opponents. I don’t anticipate their luck changing against one of the hottest teams in hockey.
Prediction: Take the Predators to win. Take the over.
Canucks vs Rangers: The New York Rangers have catapulted themselves from the depths of the Eastern Conference basement to the second wild card position thanks to their stellar play at home. The Rangers have won seven straight games at Madison Square Garden, and have themselves a string of must-win games on home ice.
This week, the Rangers are hosting the Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes. All are non-playoff teams. The Rangers need to take at least five of the possible six points at stake this week before their tough stretch next week, in which they have a game in Pittsburgh, in D.C. then against New Jersey the next day.
Every point counts.
Henrik Lundqvist is starting his 12th consecutive game. Intense workload? Not for this guy. Lundqvist is one of those rare goaltenders who only gets better the more he plays. There is no slowing him down. Lundqvist has been standing on his head of late, allowing only four goals in his last four games. Only one of those four goals came at even strength.
Vancouver is halfway through a lengthy six-game road trip. They took back-to-back games in Pennsylvania against the Flyers and Penguins, then dropped a 3-2 game agains the Devils. Incidentally, that game happened to be Hockey Fights Cancer night at the Rock. And wouldn’t you know it, Brian Boyle scored on the powerplay.
To steal a quote from “Moneyball,” how can you not be romantic about hockey?
Brock Boeser is riding a six-game point streak. The 20-year-old has been all over the ice as the Canuck’s leading scorer, scoring six goals on his current stretch. Boeser skates on the top line alongside Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi, both tied for second on the team in scoring with 17 points.
Loui Eriksson missed a month of action, but has been highly effective since returning to the Canucks’ lineup. In seven games back, Eriksson has two goals and four assists skating on the third line.
Prediction: The Rangers are just too tough on home ice right now. Take the Blueshirts to win. Play the under.
Oilers vs Bruins: Boy, the Edmonton Oilers are just going nowhere fast, huh.
Only two Western Conference teams have single-digit wins right now. That’s the Edmonton Oilers and the Arizona Coyotes. Arizona went nearly the entire first month of the season without a win and now they are only three points behind the copper-n-blue.
Connor McDavid has 28 points which is tied for eighth in the league. Nobody other than McDavid has double-digit goals. Their offense is fifth-worst in the National Hockey League. Their penalty kill is third-worst. Their goals-against average is fifth worst. Everything is going wrong.
Cam Talbot, the man who set a franchise record for wins last season, now has a goals-against average of 3.13 and a .901 save percentage. Ryan Strome, the kid acquired one-for-one for Jordan Eberle, has only three goals and seven assists on the year.
The defense is slow, thin, and will likely be without Oskar Klefbom again as he deals with the flu.
The good news is that they have won the last five games against the Boston Bruins.
The bad news is that Boston has won four in a row, and TD Garden has never been a place where the Oilers have had much success. They are 2-9-1 in their last 12 trips to Boston.
Boston is rolling, but they will need more from Tuukka Rask. If he can put it together, the Bruins will keep winning games. But he has Anton Khudobin breathing down his neck.
Tonight will be a big test.
Prediction: Take the Bruins to win. Play the over.
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